Posted on: December 23, 2011 10:40 am

Stephen Curry thinks he'll be ready for Christmas

Posted by Royce Young

Stephen Curry's ankle roll in the second game of the Warriors' preseason looked harmless enough. But then you remember it was on his surgically repaired right ankle and that helps explain why he was left crawling on the floor and needing help off the court.

It ended up being more of a tweak than anything else, which is why Curry is sounding pretty optimistic about playing in Golden State's opener on Sunday against the Clippers. Via CSN Bay Area:

“It’s hard to say. Today I was able to walk, to move around, and it’s only Thursday, so we’ll see where I get to before Sunday,” Curry said. “I’d like to practice before Sunday.”

I'm sure with the right amount of tape and maybe a shot or something Curry could play, but the season is long and there's not a big reason to risk re-injury. Still, if the Warriors want to have a shot at Lob City, they're going to need Curry's help.

He's listed officially as day to day and obviously wants to play. He probably will be able to, but he might should just sit this one out and let everything get completely healed.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:03 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 2:22 pm

What Kobe Bryant's wrist injury means

By Matt Moore

News of Kobe Bryant's torn wrist ligament spread like fire Wednesday. The Lakers, secretive as ever, list Bryant as day-to-day. That could be because they like to keep things under wraps. Or it could be because they don't know how long they'll be able to keep the strong-willed Bryant -- well-known for playing through pain -- off the floor.

Which is what makes this so frustrating for Bryant. He struggled with injuries the past two seasons, particularly a torn ligament in his pinky and a knee condition which required experimental treatment in Germany. But the long layoff had resulted in an invigorated Bryant proclaiming he was the healthiest he'd been in years. He talked about the knee being able to let him do anything he wanted. So to immediately suffer a significant wrist injury, regardless of how long he's out for, if at all, has to be frustrating. (The fact that he injured it after being blocked to oblivion by DeAndre Jordan doesn't hurt, really, but it cetainly doesn't help.)

There's a wide range of opinions on how long Bryant will be out. It essentially comes down to this. Doctors think the wrist needs time to heal but he could play through it, and teammates are certain he'll play Sunday against the Bulls in the Lakers' opener in Los Angeles.

From the Los Angeles Times:
"Without being privy to the MRI, these types of injuries can take anywhere from several days to several weeks to heal completely," said Keith Feder, a Manhattan Beach sports-medicine specialist. "But depending on the pain level, and with support, the athlete could play."
via Kobe Bryant's wrist injury leaves his status for Lakers' opener in doubt - latimes.com

From ESPN and Dr. Robert Klapper:
"You usually don't have to operate on them, but it means that you need to let them rest so you can heal."

Hands and wrists, Klapper says, heal faster than an ankle fracture, for example. He notes that the length of Kobe's absence depends on the specific diagnosis. How severe is the tear? Recovery time could be a month, it could be less. Bryant really could be day-to-day if the tear is "microscopic." God is in the details.

Interestingly enough, Klapper says anti-inflammatory medicines "have been shown to delay the healing." Meanwhile, Vitamin C helps speed healing (and as an added benefit, staves off scurvy, should Bryant take up pirating in his spare time).
via Dr. Robert Klapper on Kobe Bryant's wrist injury - Los Angeles Lakers Blog - ESPN Los Angeles

Then you have to hear what Bryant's teammates said after the Lakers' preseason loss to the Clippers Wednesday night: Bryant declined to talked to reporters, but longtime teammate Luke Walton was optimistic about his recovery.

"He plays through injuries that most people don't," Walton said. "I did see his wrist and it looked like Professor Klump because it was so swollen. But I think he'll be ready by Sunday."

Said Lakers center Andrew Bynum: "It's tough for him to miss a game, so I think he'll be up and ready to go." via Kobe Bryant's wrist injury leaves his status for Lakers' opener in doubt - latimes.com.

Sounds about right. Most people would be out a few weeks with this injury. Kobe Bryant is not most people. But there are larger questions in play here. Can the Lakers win without Bryant? It's possible. The Bulls game may be a loss, but that was questionable from the start what with Derrick Rose being guarded by Derek Fisher and Steve Blake. The larger problem isn't Bryant's absence, though he is imperative to any Lakers gameplan. It's that Andrew Bynum is serving a five-game suspension starting Sunday for a flagrant foul on J.J. Barea in last year's playoffs. The Laker can survive without Kobe Bryant for a few games. Surviving without Bryant and Bynum becomes a much tougher trick.

So why not play him, just let him work through it? Because the injury is such that repeated damage to it could cause longer term problems. Bryant is still better than 90 percent of most NBA players at 80 percent or even 70 percent, but the wear and tear does have which could be cumulative. The Lakers want to win now. Not next year, not two years from now. Now. (And in the future. That's kind of their bag. Win now, win later, win always.) And to do that they have to have the franchise player healthy for the playoffs. Risking a substantive long-term injury to win a handful of games early is not worth it.

So why not bench him, let him rest up, and play him when he's back at full strength? Take no chances, so to speak? Because of the shortened schedule. With Bynum out, the Lakers would be in the precarious position without Bryant of starting 1-4 or 0-5 without Bynum. Three of their first five opponents are playoff teams, six of their first ten. What does a 3-7 start do with just 56 games remaining? To be assured of the equivalent of 52 wins in a normal season, the Lakers would have to win roughly 42 games. which would likely be necessary for a top four seed in the playoffs even in a diluted Western Conference, the Lakers would then need to go 39-17 the rest of the way. That's just to get to the same winning percentage as the Eastern fourth seed Magic last season.

It's an impossible problem, one which the Lakers will no doubt struggle with over the next few days. The final decision will rest with Kobe, who will want to play. And the amazing part is, it's likely Bryant will score 30+ in a game with a bad wrist. His ability to adapt and play through injury is quite literally the stuff of legend. In ten years, players will tell tales of him playing through having his hand sawed off with a lightsaber like Luke Skywalker. But the issue is that one game will cloud what could be peripheral issues in his game. Ball-handling, which has become more of an issue for Bryant (half-court traps have given him a world of fits the past two seasons, and forced two turnovers in the first preseason game), could be impacted. Passing. Defense due to an inability to effectively check with that hand or apply pressure. Tentativeness on either end of the floor depending on how the wrist is feeling.

Without Bryant, the Lakers are in trouble. If Bryant plays, his season could be in trouble. We're betting Bryant plays, and plays well, but this is not the start the Lakers wanted, even beyond the failed trade for Chris Paul, Lamar Odom's subsequent departure, Bryant's divorce, and the predictable struggle to adapt to a new system. If the Lakers are to overcome adversity and regain the position at the top of the NBA mountain, they'll need everything they can get from every player.

Or Dwight Howard.
Posted on: December 18, 2011 5:06 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 1:22 am

Grizzlies' Arthur out for season with Achilles

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

The Memphis Grizzlies are already a bit thin in terms of depth in their frontcourt and they may have suffered a big blow Sunday. According to the Commercial-Appeal, power forward Darrell Arthur left practice Sunday morning with a serious Achilles injury and the team fears he may be lost for all of the 2011-12 season.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Arthur is done for the year after an MRI revealed a "season-ending torn right Achilles."

Ironically, Arthur had just returned to practice after having a sore left Achilles.

Arthur was a solid backup to Zach Randolph last season and without him in the rotation, the Grizzlies will have to look to signing a free agent or maybe the D-League for depth. Because they don't even have a backup for Marc Gasol as of now.
Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:41 am

Reggie Williams out 6-8 weeks

Posted by Royce Young

The Bobcats found a little offense in signing Reggie Williams to a two-year deal this week, but they'll have to wait a little while to see how that investment works out.

Via the Charlotte Observer, just about 24 hours after signing a $5 million deal, Williams will have surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee and will miss 6-8 weeks. Not that Williams was going to make all the difference in the world, but for a young team that's going to need some offense, he was set to be an important piece off the bench.

Corey Maggette is already in place at small forward, but Williams is a versatile swingman that was likely going to see a solid amount of playing time. At $5 million, he's a quality, high value signing. I'm sure the Bobcats had knowledge of this knee situation before they signed him and maybe that's why Williams didn't have that many other suitors. Who knows.

With the season being so compacted, missing 6-8 weeks is a much bigger than it would otherwise be. That length of time could be around 40 percent of the season, which would be a real shame for both the Bobcats, and Williams.
Posted on: December 13, 2011 7:36 pm

Lakers Caracter tears meniscus in left knee

Posted by Royce Young

The Lakers were already thin inside, and they just got thinner. According to the team, power forward Derrick Caracter tore a meniscus in his left knee at practice on Monday.

Caracter is schedule to have surgery Wednesday morning. No timetable has been set yet.

The Lakers just traded Lamar Odom for nothing and while they signed Josh McRoberts on Tuesday, the front line is definitely thin for the Lakers. Caracter wasn't set to play a ton probably, but he provided much needed depth behind the oft-injured Andrew Bynum -- who is suspended for the first five games, mind you -- and Pau Gasol. McRoberts' signing comes at a pretty good time for the team.

The 2010 second round pick saw some early-season minutes in his rookie season while Andrew Bynum recovered from injury, averaging 5.2 minutes per game towards 2.0 points and 1.0 rebounds on the season.
Posted on: December 12, 2011 4:46 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 4:58 pm

Carmelo injures knee in practice, is day to day

Posted by Royce Young

Carmelo Anthony suffered a hyperextended knee during practice Monday, via multiple outlets. Anthony said of the injury, "I'm good."

Hyperextended knees sound bad, but Anthony is just listed as day to day and should be ready to go for New York's opener on Christmas against the Celtics.

But it is a knee and knees are not to be trifled with. Melo will likely take it easy the next couple of days and play limited minutes in the Knicks upcoming preseason games against the Nets.

Remember though: This is an abbreviated schedule with a large number of games compressed into a smaller amount of time. More stress and strain gets put on players in those cases and if that knee is aching or there's anything lingering, you can be sure the Knicks will take it easy.
Posted on: December 9, 2011 11:16 am
Edited on: December 9, 2011 9:15 pm

Blazers' Brandon Roy to pursue medical retirement

By Matt Moore and Ben Golliver

Brandon Roy (Getty)On Friday, Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan confirmed that guard Brandon Roy will pursue a medical retirement rather than play during the 2011-2012 season. As recently as Monday, the Blazers had said Roy would pencil in as a starter.

The Associated Press provides additional details.
Portland Trail Blazers All-Star guard Brandon Roy has told the team that he is retiring because of ongoing difficulty with his knees.

Portland players were informed of Roy's decision to seek medical retirement on Friday before the first practice of training camp.
Roy, a five-year veteran who helped the team shed its "Jail Blazers" reputation, has been dogged by knee injuries and surgeries. He has said he lacks cartilage between the bones in both knees.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Roy had not yet filed the retirement paperwork with the league.

Roy did not report to the Blazers' practice facility on Friday and his agent did not respond to a request for comment on any retirement plans, first reported by ESPN.com early Friday.

"I couldn't believe it," Blazers forward Nicolas Batum said. "I still can't believe it."

The reports contradicted statements made on Monday during a news conference with Blazers President Larry Miller, coach Nate McMillan and acting general manager Chad Buchanan. Roy had met with team officials earlier that day and said he felt good and was ready to help the team in any way he could.

But during a medical evaluation on Thursday it became apparent that Roy's knees were not going to be able to handle another season.

"It's a tough situation," said Blazers center Marcus Camby. "People will say `Hey, he'll get his money. But Brandon's a competitor."
Earlier Monday, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that Blazers guard Brandon Roy was considering medical retirement in the face of repeated severe knee injuries. The report will come as devastating news to Blazers fans, despite the long road leading to this point. 

Roy has had injury concerns since he was drafted, and earlier this year, a consulting surgeon for Roy said that he only had 1-2 more years left in him. Many questioned the legitimacy of doubts about Roy's health after he exploded in the playoffs in a comeback win over the Mavs, who went on to win their first-round series against the Blazers. Roy had said as recently as July, Roy said he was healthy and ready to play once the lockout endedOn December 5th, the Blazers confirmed they would not be using the amnesty clause on Roy. 

NBA rules stipulate that if doctors clear Roy for medical retirement, his salary would come off the Blazers' cap after one year, though he would still be paid the full amount of his contract. If he were to return for retirement for ten games or more, the full amount would return to the Blazers' cap situation. 

It's an unfortunate ending to what was once thought to be a long and brilliant career. But the Blazers knew of the condition when they signed him to a massive extension, knew of it when he was drafted. It's the sad consequence of being human, that sometimes the body simply cannot give what we want.

Wesley Matthews is expected to take over starting duties at shooting guard for the Blazers.
Posted on: November 20, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2011 7:22 pm

J.R. Smith suffers knee injury in China

By Matt Moore 

According to multipe reports, J.R. Smith suffered a knee injury Sunday in China playing for Zhejiang in his Chinese Basketball Association debut. A video posted to YouTube showed Smith limping to the sideline after coming down on the knee and hobbling afterwards. It was a non-contact injury. NIUBBall.com reports that Smith was carried to a hospital-bound ambulance by teammates afterwards. 

Smith is an unrestricted free agent whenever the NBA resumes its offseason/preseason, and a significant injury could severely hamper his chances at his most lucrative contract offer to date. Smith is considered one of the best available shooting guards in the free agent market, and an injury could hurt his offers. Smith signed with Zhejiang even after a CBA rule was implemented to prevent teams in the CBA from offering contracts with an NBA opt-out, however NIUBBall.com has reported in the past that the most likely scenario involves teams simply releasing players for whatever guise they want, "chemistry," "personal reasons," etc., in a handshake deal should the NBA resume play. 

We'll update you with Smith's official diagnosis if and when it becomes available. 

(HT: SBNation)
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com