Posted on: October 12, 2010 1:28 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2010 4:22 pm

Kobe may not be ready for season opener

Phil Jackson says Lakers star may not be ready for season opener.
Posted by Matt Moore

So far, the talk about Kobe Bryant's knee, still recovering from knee surgery, has been very academic. Sure, he has surgery on it. Yeah, he's only about 60% on it right now. But the discussions haven't actually involved games that count, games that matter. But Phil Jackson is aware that the regular season is only two weeks away. And in dealing with that information has lead him to start wondering if the Finals MVP is going to be ready to go. The LA Times reports that Jackson is "unsure" of how ready Bryant will be when the season starts. This is in addition to the fact that there's no way Andrew  Bynum will be good to go. Bynum has said it may be December before he's back.

Bryant is the obvious more crucial component in all this. The Lakers are a stunningly talented team (which makes you wonder why everyone's so upset with all the talent on the Heat considering Lamar Odom is the Lakers' freaking sixth man), but they're also driven by a very hard iron glove from Bryant offensively. He is the start and end of most Lakers possessions. Without him, the triangle has to evolve into something different, even with Pau Gasol as the low corner and a multitude of wings available to take the third wing's spot. This team should be good enough to roll teams without Bryant, and did so last year. But there's still a level of adjustment, and an even greater one when Bryant returns.

All of this is moot because it's October. Bryant can miss the entire first month of the season, or more, and still have time for the Lakers to get back and claim the top spot in the West. It's really just a matter of how much time they'll have to coast at the end of the year. And with all the injuries and Lamar Odom having played for Team USA in FIBA this summer, Jackson may elect to simply let go of the top spot in the West and simply make the playoffs, then assert themselves. Winning every regular season game is the farthest thing from Jackson's mind. Fifty or better and they should be in, and with Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Odom, Derek Fisher, new additions Matt Barnes and Steve Blake, that number's doable in Jackson's sleep.

The only fear in Jackson's mind has to be if eventually Bryant's body which has been stunningly durable over the past two years will give out. And that's not something Jackson even wants to begin to think about, let alone Kobe. Then again, why worry when Bryant's shown he's willing to work harder, fight harder, do whatever is necessary to succeed?

Posted on: October 12, 2010 9:31 am
Edited on: October 12, 2010 9:33 am

Shootaround 10.12.10: Carmelo is confused

Posted by Royce Young
  • The Nuggets are still looking at options says The Denver Post. And Carmelo says this process has his head spinning: "On the court, it's easy. Off the court — confusing. Just dealing with all of it, just hearing it. Once I'm in the gym, I play the way I play. . . . I'm approaching this season like I would any other season. I'm just getting ready for the next game. I can't worry if I'm going to be here today or tomorrow."
  • Ben Golliver of Blazersedge: "Potentially the bigger issue for Miller is that he didn't get a look at captaining the second unit like he did last year. Instead, Nate McMillan leaned heavily on Matthews and gave extended looks to both Jerryd Bayless and Rudy Fernandez. After shootaround this morning, McMillan said Bayless/Fernandez/Matthews is a perimeter combination that he will continue to play together because of their tempo-changing ability and complementary skills. Preseason or not, Miller's playing time is therefore getting pressed from all sides."
  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: "Hopefully, Mavericks fans took a close look at the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night at American Airlines Center. Through not much fault of their own, the Cavs have become the NBA's No. 1 example of what can happen when your superstar walks. They are irrelevant without LeBron James, even in the Eastern Conference, which still has a sizeable sub-league of poor teams despite the talent at the top end. Remember, this could have happened to the Mavericks, too. Just imagine what they would look like without Dirk Nowitzki. Not that he's LeBron. But Nowitzki is as important to the Mavericks' success as James was to Cleveland's. ... The Mavericks are fortunate to have a superstar who loves his surroundings and is willing to help make it work in Dallas. Those are few and far between. And because of Nowitzki – and no matter how the Mavericks look so far in the preseason -- they at least remain relevant in the Western Conference."
  • Basketball is an emotional game. Players scream after dunks, rebounds and blocked shots. They're playing hard, working to stop the man in front of them. When they get tagged for a call, sometimes they just react. And with the new rules enforcing technicals, some players are worried they're being robbed of that emotion.
Posted on: October 11, 2010 4:48 pm

Report: Bulls not investigating Boozer's injury

Posted by Royce Young

When athletes are injured in freak accidents it's easy for people to go "Hmmm." Especially those signing the checks. It happens a lot that the story originally relayed isn't what really happened. Monta Ellis initially told the Warriors he was injured playing pickup ball before it was revealed he was hurt on a moped. You know, that sort of thing.

And according to a report from the New York Daily News, the Bulls were planning on investigating the recent hand injury suffered by Carlos Boozer. Boozer claimed he broke the hand tripping over a gym bag while he went to answer the door.

But wait a second. That might not actually be true. (The report, that is.) From both Bulls insider Sam Smith and the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson, maybe the Bulls aren't actually investigating the injury. In fact, Smith called the story a "media fabrication."

What's the cause for distrust? It's mainly because of the way Boozer's hand broke. As Johnson mentions, Boozer's type of broken hand is often referred to as a "boxer's fracture," meaning exactly what that suggests. That Carlos Boozer punched something. Some fans even thought that it could have to do with Boozer's recent divorce. So if you add that up, Boozer got mad, punched a wall or something, thought "Oh crap, I'm gonna get in trouble," and then made up a story about a trippy gym bag.

Johnson's report mentions that there were no scraped knuckles, no swelling or no redness when Boozer was examined by team doctors.

However, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated who is a boxing expert as well as NBA reporter, said he talked to two doctors and both said, without examining him, they "highly doubted" it could happen the way Boozer described. Breaks like Boozer's usually involve closed fist punch. So maybe it's not that easy to close the door on it.

Only Boozer really knows what the story is but this much is sure: The Bulls don't appear to care at this point. Nor should they. They just locked Boozer up for five years and $80 million. I don't think it would be getting the relationship off to the best start if they started prodding and poking around Boozer's injury. In a subtle way, they'd be calling their new star a liar, totally compromising trust and loyaty before this thing even got started. So it's probably in Chicago's best interest just to take Boozer's account at face value.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau put it simply: "It's a non-issue to us."

Doesn't sound like it should be either.
Category: NBA
Posted on: October 11, 2010 12:49 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2010 12:52 pm

Bogut: "I might not be 100% the whole year"

Posted by Royce Young

Andrew Bogut was cleared to play. And everyone was excited about it. But hold those horses, because Bogut says he might be limited all season by his surgically repaired right hand.

"I might not be 100% the whole year," Bogut told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "The elbow, finger, everything . . . I won't be 100 percent, so I'll have to play through the pain through the season. Even once it gets better, I'm still going to be 90 percent for the year or 85 percent. I don't have my mobility and flexibility like I should, but I just have to adjust to it."

Raise your hand if that makes you sad. (Raises hand.)

Last season Bogut really became the player most thought he'd be as a No. 1 overall pick. His defense in the paint was outstanding, his post game polished and as a centerpiece on an emerging Milwaukee squad, he was set to maybe lead them on a real postseason run. And then he was injured.

Bogut suffered broken bones in his right wrist, a broken right index finger and a dislocated right elbow, and he had bone chips in the elbow. The injury required two separate surgeries, one on his hand and one on his elbow. Since being cleared, Bogut has yet to appear in any of the Bucks' first three preseason games because of swelling in his hand.

Right-handed but famously ambidextrous, Bogut is exceptional at using both hands around the rim. He has an outstanding left-handed hook shot, but he shoots jumpshots, free throws and everything else with the right. So yeah, this injury could definitely affect his play.

Bogut is a tireless worker that plays with a ton of energy. But with him acknowledging that he's not 100 percent, it's easy to wonder if he'll play with that saem tenacity. The injury was pretty nasty last season and with him still seeing the affects, it might be easy to lay back a bit.

I guess it's a good thing after all the Bucks went after 48 power forwards this summer. At least there will be some inside help with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Jon Brockman, Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova and Drew Gooden. But backing up Bogut right now on the depth chart is Brian Skinner and only Brian Skinner. Hey Erick Dampier, have your phone on you just in case, OK?
Posted on: October 8, 2010 6:55 pm

Jeff Pendergraph out for season with torn ACL

Blazers center... yes, another one, tears ACL and will miss season.
Posted by Matt Moore

Is it something in the water? Is there just some sort of heavy dark cloud of badness that hangs over the team, destroying knees? Is it just plain old simple bad luck, that just so happens to selectively target one team? Whatever the cause, the Portland Trail Blazers are out a center. Again. Jeff Pendergraph, after a promising rookie season, is out for thye year with a torn ACL. This after Greg Oden's fractured patella, Joel Przybilla's fractured patella.


As mistifying as the curse against Portland is, the fact of the matter is that Jeff Pendergraph is a young man in a tremendous amount of pain, who will have to endure surgery and months of rehab on a joint that it's pretty hard to get around on when it's not right. But that's how it goes. As it stands, the Blazers currently have one healthy center, Marcus Camby. He's currently day-to-day with a groin injury. Of course.

You have to think the Blazers will get more involved with free agent Erick Dampier, if nothing else, out of necessity.

Maybe they should rename it the Portland Trail Blazer's Murphy's Law. Wah-wah.
Posted on: October 7, 2010 10:31 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2010 10:32 pm

Blazers' Pendergraph leaves game in wheelchair

Posted by Royce Young

It just doesn't seem possible that one team could have so much bad luck with one position. But it almost seems like playing center in Portland is becoming a death sentence. It's like the basketball equivalent of being the drummer for Spinal Tap.

But according to Trail Blazers radio play-by-play broadcaster Brian Wheeler of 95.5 FM via Blazersedge, Blazers center Jeff Pendergraph fell to the floor during the second quarter of tonight's preseason game against the Utah Jazz, clutching his right knee in pain.

After getting attention from the medical staff, Pendergraph was eventually taken off the court in a wheelchair. Jason Quick of The Oregonian reported that the injury "appears to be serious" and that Pendergraph "was wheeled off with his right knee extended and Jensen holding his foot." Huge bummer sauce.

But let's count it up now. Of course there's Greg Oden, then Joel Pryzbilla, then Greg Oden again and now Jeff Pendergraph, all with knee injuries. Marcus Camby, fear for your life.

Pendergraph is entering his second year out of Arizona State and because of the recovering big men in Portland, he was set to have a chance to play some legit minutes. Now the Portland front line just got extremely thin again. Erik Dampier has reportedly been in touch with the Blazers before this, but Rich Cho might take a more active approach to pursuing the free agent big man now.

At this point, it passed the point of not being fair in Portland. It's kind of ridiculous. This wasn't even an injury 10 games in. This was a major injury in preseason that could send the Blazers into scrambling to try and fill out their banged up front line.

I don't mean to make this sound like Pendergraph was going to be an All-Star and The Missing Piece, but any time you lose a contributing big man and your other big men aren't full healthy, things get tough. But nowadays, it's just life in Portland. For shame.
Posted on: October 7, 2010 2:49 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2010 2:49 pm

Wade won't need an MRI on the hamstring

Posted by Royce Young

Mike Wallace of the Miami Herald reports that Dwyane Wade won't need an MRI on his strained right hamstring and coach Erik Spoelstra says Wade is out at least a week.

This is one of those if-it-was-any-other-player-it's-not-news type of things, I think. But with everyone so anxious about the Miami Trio and seeing them work together, Wade's injury caused quite a scare. Because I don't think a lot of us even considered the possibility that one of them could get hurt. And what a bummer it would be if one got hurt before the season even started.

Strained hamstrings aren't anything that require much more than a little rest. Wade shouldn't have any lingering effects or nagging pain that bugs him the rest of the season. It was just a little tight to start with and he played on it. Now if there's a setback then things start getting a little tricky.

I would imagine Wade might be held out or at least extremely limited for the rest of the preseason. We're all eager to see the new Heat play together, even if it is preseason, but Spoelstra and Pat Riley are thinking about bigger things.

But it's not like it's not important for the Heat to play together in exhibition games. This is a brand new team with almost an entirely new roster. They need to play together. In the first outing, it basically transformed into a Cavs team with Chris Bosh. LeBron ran the show and was the man. So until Wade gets back, we won't really know how they're going to work together. And neither will the Heat.
Posted on: October 6, 2010 1:35 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2010 1:36 pm

Jonas Jerebko suffers torn Achilles

Pistons forward to miss up to five months with Achilles injury.
Posted by Matt Moore

Lost in the insignificant hamstring injury of Dwyane Wade was the fact that Jonas Jerebko went down in a nasty collision last night and immediately went to the locker room. The initial diagnosis was an achilles strain. Turns out that was pre-tests, because today Pistons radio is reporting Jerebko tore his Achilles tendon , and will miss at least three months , with some estimates as great as five months .

This would be the same Pistons team that was hoping to shake off the injury woes of last year. They also lost Terrico White to a broken foot . The big issue here is that the Pistons were looking to possibly move Tayshaun Prince who Jerebko has backed up at small forward, and aren't exactly deep in the frontcourt, with Greg Monroe and Ben Wallace their only real options outside of Jason Maxiell at this point. Beyond that, Jerebko made a name for himself as last year as an extremely solid young player with good effort, instincts, and energy. Losing him is going to be a significant blow to the team, just hours after it was announced they'd been sold.

Guess the luck carries over in the paperwork.

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