Posted on: April 6, 2011 6:34 pm

Dwyane Wade to miss Heat game Wednesday

Dwyane Wade out Wednesday night against Milwaukee Bucks with lingering thigh bruise. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Dwyane Wade will miss Wednesday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks with continuing soreness in his thigh, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinal. As we blogged about Tuesday, the Heat are trying to leverage needing to win games to ensure the second, and possibly top overall seed in the East versus making sure Wade's healthy. 

Against the worst offense in the league in Milwaukee, and considering how sore Wade still is, this likely wasn't a difficult decision for Wade or head coach Erik Spoelstra. Without Wade, expected increased work from LeBron James, as we've seen when Wade's been out earlier this season. Wade's missed four games this season with various injuries. Expect him to take his sweet time getting back from the bruise, though it's hard to see him missing Sunday's game against the Boston Celtics
Posted on: April 6, 2011 12:38 pm

Could Caron Butler return in the playoffs?

Caron Butler was supposed to be out for the year with a ruptured patellar tendon. But he's pushing to make an unlikely return in the playoffs for a Mavericks team that desperately needs him.
Posted by Matt Moore

The Mavericks haven't really been the same since Caron Butler went down to injury. Before Butler ruptured his patellar tendon, the Mavericks weren't just good. They were great. For most of the season they held the second spot in the West. They were right there with San Antonio, vying for the top spot. Then Butler went down, and the Mavericks elected, in a rare moment of restraint, to not replace him through trade. The result has been a slow and gradual slide that has them clinging to the third seed over Oklahoma City. They went from a team that looked like a Finals contender to a team opponents are vying to play in the first-round. Butler's absence has been a big part of that. Without him for the rest of the season, their prospects seem dim. 

Yeah, about that whole "Butler being out the entire season thing." 

Butler has been making significant progress in rehabbing from his injury. To the point where there's starting to be some rumblings that we may see the veteran wing back in the postseason. From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Rick Carlisle said the prospects of a return at some point in the playoffs still hinge on the medical aspect of the situation. Butler has been out since Jan. 1 when he ruptured his patellar tendon in Milwaukee.

“Could he help us if he was healthy? Of course,’’ Carlisle said. “But to what extent he’s going to be healthy and when, those are questions I can’t answer right now and I’m not sure any of our medical people can. The thing I do know is that he’s made phenomenal progress. He’s way ahead of schedule for this type of injury. I’m just not sure whether that’s going to manifest in him putting a uniform back on at any point soon.’’

Butler has vowed to make it back at some point in the playoffs, hoping to hit the optimistic end of the four-to-six month normal recovery time from his injury.
via Full-Court Press: Mavericks' (and UConn ex) Butler doing better Tuesday than Butler U..

That's pretty tough stuff from the guy they call Tuff Juice. Butler's shopping for a new contract after this season, and while you could argue that might be behind his drive to return and up his value, the risk is much greater in showing poorly or suffering another injury. Butler is 30, and should be looking for that last long-term contract. But instead, he's aiming to return. 

Butler wasn't playing great for the Mavericks before his injury. 15-4-2 isn't a huge contribution. But his defensive work was a significant boon for the Mavericks, and something they will desperately need, regardless of who they face in the playoffs. Getting him back could put them back on the playoff map. It's a long way back for Butler, and it's unlikely he manages to return from that kind of injury. But if he can and provide the Mavericks any significant contribution, the Mavs may turn this thing around, which would be bad news for the rest of the West, considering how strong the Mavericks still are. 

Posted on: April 5, 2011 4:08 pm

Elton Brand is playing through a broken hand

Elton Brand suffered a "very minor fracture" in March, has not and will not miss any time. Because he's tougher than you.
Posted by Matt Moore

Elton Brand has been one of the biggest reasons why the Sixers have found their ways back to the playoffs. Brand's numbers are up in points, rebounds, and shooting percentage.  Might want to add toughness to his resume this season. Turns out he's been playing with a broken hand. 
Following the Sixers home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 9, coach Doug Collins said that forward Elton Brand had gotten "karate chopped" on the back of his left hand and that the hand was very sore.

In subsequent games, Brand was wearing padding to protect the hand, which was noticeably swollen for a few days after. Turns out, Brand suffered a "very minor fracture," a team source said. Brand has not missed any time since the injury and shed the protective padding in the middle of a loss to Utah, just three games later.
via Elton Brand has been playing with a small fracture in his hand | Philly | 04/05/2011.

I don't know about you, but I'd miss time with a broken hand at my job. And I don't, you know, play basketball for a living. Brand has played through a broken hand, even if it was "very minor" and kept up his production.

No one saw Brand making a recovery production-wise this season. Perhaps more impressive than just ticking up in various box score areas is that Brand has managed to do so in efficient ways. His usage is down, but his production is up, and his turnovers are down. In short, Brand is doing more with less.  And apparently he's able to do it with 1.75 hands, which is pretty impressive. 
You'd think the Sixers would want to give Brand some time before the start of the playoffs, but given their approach this season, he'll probably push through. The Sixers are basically a roving band of Warriors fighting anything that gets in their way at this point. 
Posted on: April 4, 2011 9:00 pm

Pau Gasol day-to-day with a bone bruise

Pau Gasol's injury not serious, as he's listed day-to-day. 
Posted by Matt Moore

This is the spring of close-calls, injury wise, for contenders. The Celtics dodged a bullet when Nenad Krstic was diagnosed with a bone bruise and no tear, and then Shaquille O'Neal managed not to go down with an Achilles' injury and just a calf strain. And now the Lakers have their own injury to be... thankful for? 

The Lakers announced Monday afternoon that an MRI on Pau Gasol's leg (injured Sunday in a loss to Denver) revealed a bone bruise, nothing more. He's listed as day-to-day. 

When Gasol came down wrong against the Nuggets, Lakers' fans seasons flashed before their eyes. It served as a reminder that getting homecourt advantage in the West is nice, but making sure the team is healthy once the second season begins is paramount. Losing Gasol would scuttle the Lakers' title hopes barring a miraculous run. That isn't to say the Lakers would be completely out of it because, well, they're loaded, but it would be significantly more of a challenge. That's what Gasol means to them. 

The Lakers should take the most precautionary approach possible with Gasol, and the rest of the Lakers' starters. There's just no reason to risk an MRI that wouldn't come back as gently when the Lakers know they can win on the road. There's a balance to be struck. Somehow, it's easy to think no matter what the Lakers decide to do, it'll work out right. That's kind of the pattern for them.
Posted on: March 22, 2011 10:14 am

Rudy Gay out for the season

Rudy Gay will miss the rest of the season after shoulder surgery. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Rudy Gay has been on the shelf for a while with a shoulder injury. First he was expected back in two weeks. Then it was taking longer than expected, and it turned into a month. Now, his season is over. 

The Memphis Commercial-Appeal reports that after a second opinion was sought for Gay in Alabama from a shoulder expert, Gay has told the paper that his season is over, as he'll need surgery.

Have I mentioned that the Grizzlies gave Gay a five-year, $84 million contract this summer? Have I mentioned that the Grizzlies are looking to reach the playoffs for the first time since the departure of Pau Gasol? Have I mentioned they're still chasing their first playoff win for Memphis? Have I mentioned the team is finally in a place to have consistent efforts and contributions from multiple positions on the floor, from the bench, and on both sides of the ball? 

This news is the kind of momentum killer that ends seasons.  It'll be up to players like Tony Allen, Shane Battier, Zach Randolph, and new leader Mike Conley to keep the ship right, in the face of an extremely difficult schedule, a rising Rockets team only two games back, and missing their best player. Zach Randolph may be their biggest star and their most important player, but Rudy Gay was capable of attacking from ther perimeter with jumpshots and attacking the basket, snatching rebounds, starting the break, creating steals, distributing, and rising for cltuch shots. Without him, they are a dangerous team with a good defense, veteran leadership, an All-Star caliber forward, and good chemistry. But without him they also lack the kind of star needed to make pushes in the playoffs. Their odds were not good in a likely matchup with San Antonio. 

Barring one of the most shocking runs in the history of the NBA, the Grizzlies have had a firm cap put on their season, once again. Them's the breaks. 
Posted on: March 13, 2011 4:38 am

Kobe thought he was "done" after ankle injury

Kobe Bryant will try to work through severe injury to return for meaningless regular season game against Orlando Monday. The question is, why?
Posted by Matt Moore

Kobe Bryant thought it was all over. 

When Bryant landed awkwardly on his ankle, severely spraining it in the third quarter of the Lakers' 96-91 win over the Dallas Mavericks, he feared the worst. Bryant told reporters after the game that he feared his season might be over: 
"I thought I was done, like done. I was praying that when I stood up, my foot was lined up straight," Bryant said. "I thought I dislocated it."
via Bryant tweaks ankle, scores 16 in win over Mavs - NBA - CBSSports.com.

But it wasn't dislocated, just severely sprained, to the size of a baseball he said after the game, but Bryant was able to walk it off and actually return to the game. He played in the fourth quarter, missing several fadeaway jumpers early in the shot-clock, again. 

So here's a question:

Why is Bryant out there, pushing himself like this? 

This isn't a bad thing. In actuality, Bryant's giving us what we saw we want from our superstar athletes. He's risking further injury to try and overcome pain and help his team win in the only way he knows how, taking contested jumpers. But Bryant admitted after the game the ankle was already weak and the fall, which involved no contact with another player, just forced the ankle to "go." If he's playing on a weakened ankle, and he suffered a fairly traumatic ankle tweak, why is he rushing back to the floor, especially if it's to try and go ISO against a good defender in Shawn Marion? It's March for crying out loud. 

Bryant told reporters after the game that in regards to his status for Monday's game versus Orlando, which Phil Jackson was dubious about, that he would not be deterred. 
"I'll just do what I always do: don't sleep, get treatment around the clock and I should be fine," Bryant said.
via Kobe Bryant hurts ankle in Los Angeles Lakers' game against Dallas Mavericks - ESPN Los Angeles.

Why is Bryant punishing himself like this? He's obviously struggling. This series of events comes less than 48 hours after his little shooting binge following the loss to the Heat. Thankfully for Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Steve Blake stepped up along with the Lakers' defense to help L.A. hold off the Mavericks Saturday night but in reality, none of these games are worth risking further injury with the playoffs a little over a month away. The Lakers aren't catching the Spurs with their 7.5 game lead in any realistic scenario. They know they can win on the road in the playoffs, and they know that health is the most important element for their championship hopes. So why is Bryant so hellbent on proving to everyone that he wants to work harder? In years prior he would have just simply done it. But now he seems to be trying to impress everyone with his dedication, whether it's staying an hour after a loss with every member of the press aware that he was shooting baskets in an empty gym, or pressing through a fairly severe injury to convince everyone he's the hardest working man in the business. 

The question is how much of this comes from a desire to maintain his hold on his place in the game. Eventually, questions will be asked about why Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum aren't receiveing more touches. And that will be an awkward situation with Bryant, who wants to help his teammates grow but can't let go of his own position as the franchise leader. He's wired one way, and his dedication betrays an unhealthy obsession with going beyond not only what is asked, but what might be reasonable or best for the club. 

Everyone knows no one wants it more than Bryant. That's why he's Bryant. But at some point he's got to get outside the context of what is happening at this exact moment, and think about May, think about June. Maybe then Bryant will realize that he doesn't have to prove he's crazy obsessed with success and personal accomplishment. Everyone already believes him. 
Posted on: March 6, 2011 8:26 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 5:44 am

Chris Paul suffers concussion

Chris Paul injures his head in collision with Cavaliers' Ramon Sessions, taken off floor on stretcher in neck brace. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Update 10:27 p.m. EST: A Hornets release says that Paul was placed on the stretcher as a precaution after complaining of neck pain. Tests results at the hospital were negative, and he has been diagnosed with a concussion.  He has been released, rejoined the team and is listed as "out." We'll keep you updated on his status for the Hornets going forward. 

Updated 8:56 p.m. EST: Chris Paul's older brother informs fans on Twitter that Paul's "ok." He says that Paul wanted to get off the stretcher and play. Everything's looking good for this situation. 

Update 8:41 p.m. EST: Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that per a Hornets spokesperson, Paul did not lose feeling in his extremities due to the injury, another encouraging sign. The injury has been described as a head injury.

Update 8:29 p.m. EST : Paul was taken to the hospital but is responsive and aware of his surroundings. All good signs. 

Original report: Hornets guard Chris Paul suffered a potentially serious head injury Sunday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the third quarter against the Cavs, Paul drove the lane, then lost the ball off his leg, as he turned to try and recover the ball in the lane, his head slammed into Ramon Sessions' shoulder and arm. Paul fell to the floor and lay motionless for several minutes. He was eventually removed from the floor via stretcher , and gave a brief thumbs up, indicating movement in his extremities, always a good sign.

Paul has been taken to a Cleveland hospital for examination . We'll keep you updated on his condition as more information becomes available. Sessions was not significantly injured in the incident. 
Posted on: March 3, 2011 10:02 am

Glen Davis will have MRI Thursday on injured knee

Glen Davis suffering with injured knee, MRI to be done Thursday.
Posted by Matt Moore

When the Celtics elected to trade Kendrick Perkins, they were confident they would be able to survive based on their depth. They signed Troy Murphy in large part to bolster that front office core, but the real work would be done by Kevin Garnett, the O'Neals (both of whom are injured), and Glen Davis. Unfortunately, there's an issue with Davis that has become singificant enough he'll be having some tests done. And it's on his knee. 

Apparently, Davis has been suffering with knee pain for a while, to the point where at several points he wondered if he could play. He continued to do so out of a dedication to the team, but on Wednesday night, From CSNNE: 

But on Wednesday night, the pain got the best of him. Davis suffered a left patella tendon strain going up for shot attempt late in the fourth quarter against the Phoenix Suns. He was helped off the court by the Celtics team doctor and will undergo an MRI on Thursday.

His status for Friday’s game against the Golden State Warriors has yet to be determined.

via Davis injures knee, will have MRI on Thursday.

Davis' dedication to his teammates in admirable. It really is. But he's got to keep an eye on the long-term. The Celtics don't really need him in March, or February, or even January. They need him in June. Putting unncessary wear and tear on the knee when the Celtics don't absolutely have to have a win jeopardizes their ability to contend when the games really matter. If the training staff was aware of this situation, they should have shut Davis down for a few games a while ago. You're begging for a tear of some sort, which could mean more missed time, or worse, surgery. It doesn't sound like that's the result in this case, but even if it's just a strain, it's more pressure on an injury that doesn't need it. 

Should the Celtics be without Davis on Friday, Troy Murphy will get more run, which may not be a great thing considering how out of shape he appeared and the coaching staff admitted he was Wednesday night. Boy, if only the Celtics had a capable center they could rely on. Oh, wait, no, nevermind, even if they'd kept Perkins, he's out two weeks, too. No win for the C's. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com