Posted on: February 12, 2011 6:28 pm

Amar'e Stoudemire out with sprained toe

Posted by Royce Young

Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire will not dress tonight against the the New Jersey Nets because of a sprained right big toe.

In his place, expect Anthony Randolph to potentially fill his spot or even for Danilo Gallinari to slide up to power forward and Wilson Chandler into the starting lineup.

Stoudemire injured the toe against the Lakers Friday but played through. It shouldn't be the kind of injury that lingers or keeps him out much longer than a game or two.
Posted on: February 3, 2011 3:01 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2011 5:39 pm

Kleiza out for season after microfracture surgery

Linas Kleiza is out for up to a year after microfracture surgery. 

Posted by Matt Moore

Think of it this way, Raps fans. It could be worse.

You could be Clevleand.

The Raptors announced today that Linas Kleiza is out for nine to 12 months following arthroscopic surgery to repair both a meniscal tear and what's called a chondral tear, which sounds pretty bad . Another name for the surgery? Microfracture.

The Raptors gave Kleiza a four-year, $18 million contract this summer to lure him back from Greece, only to watch him struggle under expectations and the apparent injury. The result is that Kleiza is lost as a trade chip should the Raptors elect to pursue a drastic move before the trade deadline. A versatile scorer with experience on the wing with a movable contract is something that can be used in a number of deals, but now that option's out the door. 

Kleiza's absence also means it's likely the Raptors will have to turn to more small-ball lineups, with DeMar DeRozan spending time at the 3, splitting time with Sonny Weems.

Typically Jay Triano would have options for a bigger lineup, but they're already dealing with Reggie Evans' injury and recurrent injuries with Andrea Bargnani

But, hey, like I said. Not Cleveland. Keep repeating that, Raps fans. 

Via the National Post
Posted on: February 1, 2011 10:38 am

Emeka Okafor out 1-3 weeks with oblique strain

Posted by Royce Young

Hornets center Emeka Okafor suffered a grade two left rectus oblique strain an MRI revealed. Because of it, he's expected to be out one-to-three weeks.

And don't ask me what a "left rectus" is because I don't really want to know. Okafor is one of the league's iron men having played in 306 consecutive games. Obviously that will come to an end now.

For the Hornets, this definitely hurts them for the time being because they don't have much depth behind Okafor. They have D.J. Mbenga, Jason Smith and David Anderson as options. Not exactly players you get all that excited about to replace one of your best interior options.

Judging by a little research, the injury is something that typically doesn't really linger a whole lot and isn't that difficult to come back from. So while Okafor will miss a little time and maybe up to almost a month, he'll be back and ready for when the Hornets really need him in March.
Posted on: January 29, 2011 1:12 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2011 1:19 pm

Amar'e Stoudemire has knee sprain, questionable

Posted by Royce Young

Amar'e Stoudemire has a sprained right knee and is questionable for Sunday's game against the Pistons.

Stoudemire has been pretty much injury free so far this season, but tweaked his knee after Marvin Williams landed on the back of his leg during last night's game. Stoudemire stayed in the game but did tell reporters it was sore after.

Of course last night's game against Atlanta had a lot of other things going on including a brawl at mid-court between Williams and New York's Shawne Williams. The league hasn't made a determination at this point of any suspensions, so right now, the Knicks will only be possibly missing Stoudemire.

If Stoudemire is unable to go, Ronny Turiaf will get the start and rookie Timofey Mozgov will likely see a little time.
Posted on: January 28, 2011 1:28 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 1:30 pm

Deron Williams MRI negative, what about the Jazz?

MRI negative for Deron Williams' wrist, day-to-day, but what about the Jazz as a whole?
Posted by Matt Moore

Deron Williams "felt a pop" when he injured his wrist Wednesday night, prompting him to have an MRI done, and stopping the hearts of every Jazz official, player, and fan throughout the land. But the good news is that the results are back, and they are negative. No structural damage for Williams, and he's listed as day-to-day with a strained tendon. 

Losing Williams is not the same as the funk the Jazz are going through. There's a number of people jumping off the good ship Jazz 2011, but in reality, they looked very good at the beginning of the season.  There are a number of areas of concern, however, as outlined by the Salt Lake City Tribune's Kurt Kragthorpe in his midseason review a week ago: 
In previous years, “We had a better chemistry,” Williams said. “I don’t know if you could say better players that fit the system, but a better mesh of guys.”

For all of his leadership and dependability, Raja Bell appears every bit of 34 years old, shooting poorly and defending inadequately. Nobody’s sure what to think of rookie Gordon Hayward.

So the newcomers have not changed the organization’s outlook, and play of the holdovers is no more encouraging. The contract-year version of Andrei Kirilenko is the usual model, a sixth-year C.J. Miles is still not a complete upgrade, Paul Millsap is slumping and not even Williams is exempt from criticism.
via Kragthorpe: Jazz’s downturn leads to depressing forecast | The Salt Lake Tribune.

And all that was much nicer than what was said and is being said about Al Jefferson. The real problems, though, are the things wrong on defense, as Zach Lowe from SI illustrated earlier this week. 

Over the last six weeks or so, the nightmare scenario for Utah has played out. Both of those early problematic trends have continued, while opponents have started to make shots. Teams shot 46 percent from the floor (and 39 percent from three) against the Jazz in December; those numbers have jumped to 47.3 percent and 40 percent so far in January. Meanwhile, the Jazz still give up the most free throws per shot attempt, and, most disturbing of all, they’ve settled in at 27th in defensive rebounding rate. The latter trend is especially disturbing, because Utah ranked fifth in that category last season, meaning their defensive rebounding has collapsed much more dramatically than we should have expected given the loss of Carlos Boozer (a better rebounder than either Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap).

In fact, only seven teams since 1973-74 have seen their place in the league’s defensive rebounding hierarchy (as measured by percentile rather than raw rank, given the changing number of teams in the league) drop further in one season than Utah’s has so far, according to Basketball-Reference.

A deeper look at Utah’s defense suggests the problem lies in the pick-and-roll — and specifically in its inability to stop dribble penetration at the top. An exhaustive look at video points to, primarily, the inability (or reluctance) of Millsap and Jefferson to jump out aggressively and cut off ball-handlers before they turn the corner. For whatever reason, both prefer mostly to sag back as Williams chases point guards over screens. 
via The Point Forward » Posts Monday Musings: Defensive issues mute Jazz «.

In case you're missing the theme, here, it's that the Jazz are playing terribly. The gap, though, is that in years past they would surge in January and February, then fall back to the pack and be easily dismissed in April. January is not the time to be surging. April is. Jerry Sloan has until then to get things straight. If he doesn't, or if the Jazz wind up in the Lakers' side of the bracket, it's going to be yet another predictable, easily-dismissed exit from the playoffs in the first or second round. The list is pretty simple:
  • Shore up the pick and roll defense, getting Al Jefferson more in tune with the defensive principles and awareness he needs
  • Commit to the kind of effort they gave on the glass early on the season.
  • Resolve the shooting woes from the perimeter, finding some option among the plethora of wings they have available.
  • Get everything in tune at once.

But at least they won't be trying to fix these problems now without Deron Williams. 
Posted on: January 26, 2011 12:33 am

X-Rays negative on Blake Griffin's arm

Blake Griffin falls awkwardly in loss to Mavericks, X-Rays negative. 
Posted by Matt Moore

X-Rays for Blake Griffin's arm were negative tonight, he's listed as having suffered a left elbow contusion in the Clippers' loss to Dallas Tuesday night. Griffin wrapped around Brendan Haywood on the baseline in the third quarter, was tripped and landed awkwardly on his arm. It was yet another in a series of violent collisions with the ground for Griffin. It's the one concern in what has been a historic season for Griffin who is close to securing an All-Star birth. He's either colliding violently with the rim or crashing to the earth. And with every destructive dunk the defense becomes more and more inclined to put Griffin on his back. 

So far he's been impervious to injury after breaking his kneecap before his rookie season. But things like this make you nervous for his future if he keeps crashing to the floor like that. 

Griffin is listed day-to-day. We'll keep you updated on his status. Clipper fans, exhale. Well, except for Eric Gordon's injury. You can keep not breathing on that one. 
Posted on: January 25, 2011 1:41 am
Edited on: January 25, 2011 6:54 pm

LaMarcus Aldridge X-Rays, MRI negative

Blazers forward suffering with hip issue, will have X-Rays. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Update (Tuesday 6:52 PM)

Aldridge's X-rays and an ensuing MRI both came back negative. The Blazers announced on Tuesday that Aldridge does have a hip contusion and listed him as probable for Portland's game against the Boston Celtics on Thursday.
Original Post:
I wish this was a joke. I do. But another Blazer has an injury concern. General Manager Rich Cho told reporters after the Blazers loss to the Kings Monday night that LaMarcus Aldridge, on the cusp of an All-Star berth, will have X-Rays on his right hip. Results are expected Tuesday morning, and of course, we'll keep you updated. 

Aldridge had surgery on his left hip in college to repair a torn ligament.  Which in Blazer terms, is like the black mark of death when a new injury erupts. The Blazers are currently without Brandon Roy, Elliot Williams, Greg Oden, Jeff Pendergraph (released after surgery), and Marcus Camby with various knee surgeries. So the good news is that Aldridge's knee is miraculously not the issue. The bad news is that no Blazer injury winds up well lately. There are no "out a few days" things. It's always terrible news. Maybe this is the one differential, as Aldridge has been fairly iron-man-esque so far. But if I'm a Blazer fan, I've been conditioned to nothing but the abject worst-case scenario in all instances.  Heck, at this point, if I'm Rich Cho, I'm already planning on Aldridge being out eight weeks, just out of habit. 

But those are just bad jokes. Aldridge himself said it was "nothing" post game, and it's likely the X-Ray won't reveal anything too serious. Right? One time?

(HT: The Oregonian)
Posted on: January 25, 2011 1:16 am

Video: Derrick Rose: "My back is killing me"

Posted by Matt Moore

Derrick Rose is hopeful that having three days off will benefit his body, which is undergoing some stress with the amount of offensive load he's having to shoulder. In an interview with reporters after the Bulls' 92-83 victory over the Bucks, Rose admitted his back was "killing" him. Comcast Sportsnet in Chicago caught his comments on video. Rose comments on the injury at the 1:50 mark:

Not what you want to hear as a Bulls' fan. But of course, that kind of injury is to be expected with the load Rose is managing. Rose is fifth overall in usage this season (the percentage of possessions used by a player while on the floor), and at point guard, the playmaker, as well as primary scorer, Rose is "everything" to the team. 

There's no indication of the injury being anything more than just the wear and tear of having the team on his back, so to speak. But the rest is still important, as will his time off during the All-Star break, outside of his time on the floor during the actual All-Star game. Rose will need to soak up as much rest as possible. As rough as things are now, it'll only get worse once the second season rolls around. 

No pain, no MVP gain, I guess.
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