Posted on: December 15, 2010 1:45 pm

Joakim Noah suffering through hand issues

Bulls center Joakim Noah suffering through injured hand as reports surface regarding possible ligament damage. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Joakim Noah does plan to play against the Raptors Wednesday, but there are storm clouds on the knuckle-shaped horizon. Noah's battling a hand issue that he's had for weeks. From the Chicago Tribune:

Noah has been battling sore knuckles and tendons on his right hand for weeks. He has been taping his knuckles. The Tribune reported late Tuesday that management has held internal discussions about resting Noah, whose situation hasn't improved. Surgery has not been ruled out, if that becomes necessary to fix the problem.
via Bulls' Rose, Noah planning to play vs. Raptors - Chicago Breaking Sports.

There's a report stating that the Bulls are "concerned" there may be ligament damage in his hand which would necessitate surgery, resulting in him missing eight weeks of play or more. This comes just as Carlos Boozer had returned from his broken hand and the Bulls are starting to mesh into the power they were expected to be. But losing Noah for an extended period of time would be a crushing loss that would hurt them in an area they can't afford to lose players at. Omer Asik is fine for spot duty, but a lineup of Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson would be overmatched by nearly any team with a legit center. 

With the Bulls focused on defense under Tom Thibodeau, rebounding is fairly important and losing one of the best rebounders in the league would be, what's the word? Oh, yeah, bad. 
Category: NBA
Posted on: December 13, 2010 10:10 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2010 10:43 pm

Wizards' Big 3 may miss Lakers game

Wizards' three best players likely out versus defending champion Lakers Posted by Matt Moore

You know what the Wizards can't afford to have happen? John Wall to miss games. The number one overall pick leads the Wizards in assists and steals, is third in scoring, and fifth in rebounds. But if Wall is missing, what the Wizards really can't afford to have happen is for Gilbert Arenas to miss time. He's their leading scorer and second best overall player. But if those two are missing, they certainly can't afford to have Andray Blatche gone.

You know where this is going. From the Washington Post
Blatche's appears to be the most severe, with Coach Flip Saunders saying that the 6-11 forward is "probably out" against the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers with a swollen left knee. Wall has developed some soreness in his right knee, which Saunders said is probably the result of overcompensation from his left foot injury, and is "very questionable." Arenas is probable, with what the team is calling "general soreness."
via Wizards Insider - The latest NBA news from Michael Lee.

Which means the Wizards, who face the Lakers Tuesday, will be without their three best players, against the most talented team in the league (apologies to the Miami Triad). Even with the Lakers struggling, they're still a dominant team, and the Wizards were a heavy underdog to begin with. Without any of the Wizards' Moderate-Sized-Three, they may as well forfeit. This could get ugly.

Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom are probably thankful, though.

Anyone else wonder if Flip Saunders is going to have to turn to some sort of medicinal alternative to get through this stint with the Wizards?
Posted on: December 7, 2010 10:24 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 10:29 pm

Tyreke Evans will see foot specialist

Kings rookie struggles with plantar fasciitis, will see specialist.  Posted by Matt Moore

Plantar faciitis is such a bummer of an injury. It takes power forwards and makes them statues, and turns guards into cars without fuel, coasting along with someone behind them pushing. Everything gets more difficult, and worse, it's a painful, distracting injury that only really gets better with rest. But that's not stopping Tyreke Evans from trying to figure out an alternative. 

Evans tweeted today that he'll be visiting a specialist for his foot. He maintains it's not a concern, just something his agent wants him to do, but the fact that the problem has been escalated to this point means there's a significant issue with it. It's clearly affecting his play. Evans has been tentative, inconsistent, and much less explosive this season than he was in his historic rookie season. 

Also, "blessed!"

Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:19 am
Edited on: December 2, 2010 11:28 am

Shootaround 12.2.10: Judgment Day

Rondo has a nickname, Sanders has a bunch of blocks, and oh, yeah, some guy comes back to Ohio today, all in today's Shootaround. Posted by Matt Moore
  • At CavsBlog, John Krolik welcomes back the Chosen One to the city he abandoned: "Welcome back to the Q. Last time you were here, you went 3-14 in a 32-point loss. Maybe the booing will motivate you to do better this time. I am fairly confident that you will not always be hated the way you are now. You will probably be loved someday. But you will never be loved with the kind of passion that Cleveland hates you with now. I am fairly confident of this. You may as well embrace that, because it’s far too late to try and change it."
  • A different take which I was curious if it would exist today: Terry Pluto for Cleveland.com feels more sadness than anger at the return of LeBron:"But one night on ESPN changed all that. It's not tragic. It's not the end of Northeast Ohio. It's not something that dramatically impacts the lives of most people here. It's just sad . . . and James should have known better."
  • Fear The Swords is swelling with pride for a place so often draped in disappointment and failure as a day of judgment for their city arrives. 
Posted on: December 1, 2010 11:49 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 11:50 pm

Lakers loss leads to ominous stat

Lakers lose fourth in a row, which leads to push-come-to-shove streaks, one of which must end. Posted by Matt Moore

One loss is a laugh-off. Two is an annoyance. Three is concerning. Four? Four losses in a row? That's ominous.

The Los Angeles Lakers lost 109-99 to the Houston Rockets Wednesday night, pardon me, the 5-12-entering Houston Rockets for their fourth consecutive loss. why are four losses, even ones as apoplectic as these, significant whatsoever for a championship-proven team in December?

Because of this, courtesy of Andrew Siciliano of FSN :

So that's pretty ominous. The Lakers aren't struggling because Kobe Bryant's out injured or because Pau Gasol is out injured (though Pau is struggling because of the lack of center depth with Theo Ratliff out and Andrew Bynum Andrew Bynuming). They're struggling because they're having significant lapses at the defensive end (Shane Battier scored 11 straight on them in the final minutes for crying out loud), and on offense, too often a no-longer-29-year-old Kobe Bryant is constantly putting up bad shots. On key possessions Bryant opted for the 40-foot-three-pointer shots instead of using all his knowledge and craft to create easier opportunities, extend the game or work for a quality shot.

The other trend that the 4-game streak omen is up against? Phil Jackson has never failed to complete a 3-peat. Given the fact that LA has five months to get it right, Andrew Bynum returns in a few weeks, and this team could not care less about the regular season and they're still only losing these games by a handful of buckets, we should probably bet on the latter trend holding up.

But it still should be noted that the Lakers right now? They're not very good at all.

Posted on: December 1, 2010 8:30 pm

Joe Johnson out 4-6 after elbow surgery

Posted by Royce Young

Joe Johnson, who signed a massive extension in the offseason and is the Atlanta Hawks' best player, leading scorer and go-to player late in games, is out 4-6 weeks after having arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow.

For you non-perceptive readers, that's his shooting arm.

Mo Evans started in place of Johnson Wednesday, but it's likely reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford could be used more, potentially even starting.

Nobody really even knew Johnson was having an issue, but he's been shooting the ball uncharacteristically poor (just 25.6 percent from 3) and has seen his average dip to 17.1 points per game.

His last game which was against the defensively challenged Knicks, Johnson went just 3-15 from the field. Reportedly, he woke up the next day and complained his elbow was sore.

Better to get this taken care of now if it's bothering him that much rather than battling through it while not being himself. Being out 4-6 weeks in December isn't near as big as having an elbow that's balky in April.

Still, really no telling what the issue is at this point. But it's surgery for Johnson and the Hawks will suffer. They're 11-7 after starting the season 6-0. Maintaining for the Hawks will be the goal and having Crawford as a backup scorer is a nice luxury. But who takes the big shot late in games? Can Crawford consistently score? Big questions the Hawks will have to answer of the next month or so. 
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 24, 2010 9:02 pm

Delonte West breaks wrist - what's Boston to do?

Posted by Royce Young

After a big spill Wednesday against the Nets, Celtics guard Delonte West suffered a fairly significant right wrist injury. Significant meaning it's broken.

Ouch, Celtics.

After making a driving layup with a couple minutes left in the first half, West went immediately down and clutched at his right wrist. Boston's trainer checked him for an extended time and West walked off the court holding his wrist close to his body. After getting X-rayed, it was discovered West broke the wrist. Typically, that's something that'll keep West out for months and depending on the break or if surgery is needed, longer.

If you have a good memory, this is the same wrist West broke two years ago in a similar fashion. A shame for a guy that was finally getting his season started. West just can't seem to catch a break (pun sort of intended).

This could be a significant blow to the Celtics as Rajon Rondo is dealing with a few different things. Rondo missed his third straight game Wednesday sitting out with a sore left hamstring. But Rondo is also battling plantar fasciitis in his right foot. So with the Celtics' point guard situation having some issues, it's possible that they could be looking to bring in some added help, tweeted Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

Right now, Nate Robinson and rookie Avery Bradley are the only healthy options for Boston at point guard so it's very likely someone will get brought in. The once very deep Celtic bench just got a bit thinner. And depending on Rondo's health, the Celtics' season could be taking a turn as well.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 11:51 pm

Bynum's MRI clean, still on for December

Lakers center expected back as soon as December 10th from continuing knee issue.
Posted by Matt Moore

No, no, silly rabbit. The promising young center who perpetually is sidelined by concerning test results is Greg Oden! Andrew Bynum is the one who comes back with a clean bill of health, then gets nicked up and is expected out three weeks and misses an entire paleolithic era.

Anyway, Bynum's MRI came back this afternoon, and good news: it's negative. Which is the bizarre way of the medical field of telling you something good. Great news! It's negative! Nowhere else does this phenomenon occur. Not like my boss is going to come to me and say "Hey, we checked out a review of all your comments and scored them, great news: it's negative!"

Sorry, got off-track. From ESPN :

Lakers spokesman John Black said the exam -- the first on Bynum's knee since before training camp and scheduled in order to compare how the knee looked then versus now -- showed nothing "abnormal" or "unexpected."

That's good. The last time I had an MRI on my knee they found an entire race of beings living inside who considered me an evil wizard and wouldn't stop with the incessant puns and that was really abnormal.

Phil Jackson finally came up with a possible return date for Bynum, saying he could be available for the December 10th game against the Bulls in Chicago. Which means Bynum will actually be available for the February 27th game against the Thunder. If he feels right.
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