NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Stephen Curry did not sustain his latest right ankle injury in a game, or even a practice. He did it at a shootaround while chasing a loose rebound.
It’s a brutally frustrating injury for owners who were just starting to trust Curry – a guy that had previously not missed a game the entire season. X-rays came back negative, but they always do when Curry aggravates this injury. As he’s found out, ligament injuries are almost always worse than simple fractures.
“I haven't had a sprain in two-and-a-half months, so my ligaments are as probably the healthiest they've been. Just have to wait and see how they recover," Curry said Wednesday night. "I haven't been in this situation for a while. I don't know if it will be a fast or slow kind of deal just because after two surgeries and all that process, it finally had the time to cool down. So we'll see [Thursday]."
On Thursday, the Warriors went into shutdown mode. They said they won’t be allowing their injured players to speak to the media until they get back on the court. Updates are going to sparse. Here’s what we have for now, courtesy of the Mercury News:
“It's unfortunate. We will shut him down. He'll get treatment, and we'll see where he goes,” coach Mark Jackson said. "I'm not a doctor, but I can't imagine it turning into something more. I'm not going to get into timetables and all of that. We're not concerned."
Don’t read too much into Jackson’s typical coach-speak. He knows any nick to Curry’s right wheel is a big deal. Owners need to add Jarrett Jack and pray that this is only a one-week scare.
NEWS OF THE DAY #2
Chris Paul missed his third straight game Thursday night, but his bruised kneecap still doesn’t look like a serious situation. He’s being called a game-time decision for Saturday and the TNT broadcasters brushed off the issue as minor. It’s easy for the Clips to rest Paul when they go 10-deep and have a backup point guard (Eric Bledsoe) that would start on at least a third of the NBA’s teams.
NEWS OF THE DAY #3
The second halves of back-to-back road games are tough for healthy players. So you know they’re brutal for Eric Gordon and his chronically sore knee.
The good news for owners is that Gordon did not sit out Wednesday night due to a new issue. It’s just the Hornets doctors wisely playing it safe with their franchise player. Gordon is fully expected to play his usual 30 minutes on Saturday. Note that they have eight more back-to-back sets this season, with the next one coming up Jan. 29/30.
KNICKS vs. PISTONS RANDOM THOUGHTS, LONDON EDITION
* Andre Drummond got just 22 minutes, but was the Pistons’ best player once again with 12 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. For more on why I’d stash him, check out Rotating Rotations from earlier this week.
* Will Bynum was on fire and Brandon Knight was struggling, so he got benched. Don’t overreact. Knight had played at least 32 minutes in six straight games before this.
* Welcome back, Iman Shumpert. Sporting a truly special Kid-n-Play flat-top, he looked really springy and well-conditioned for a guy playing his first game since an ACL tear eight months ago. He’ll struggle to hold standalone value due to his knee limitations and defensive focus, but he will muck up the Knicks’ rotation some. Raymond Felton’s return – likely during the final week of January -- will clutter it even more.
* Amare Stoudemire had his best game of the season, going for 17 points and four rebounds. If I owned him, I spend the day trying to sell him.
CLIPPERS at TIMBERWOLVES RANDOM THOUGHTS
* There was big news pregame when interim coach Terry Porter changed up his starting five. Despite being on a 28-minute cap, Ricky Rubio started – but not in place of Luke Ridnour. It was Alexey Shved that went to the pine, bringing back the dual-point guard lineup that the Wolves often used last year. The results: Rubio looked atrocious, Ridnour exploded as a scorer and Shved appeared to severely sprain his ankle. It’s hard to have high hopes for Rubio as an atrocious shooter that has no one to finish his passes for him.
* The other move Porter made was starting Derrick Williams over Dante Cunningham. I talked about this a week ago in this very space – it’s a no-brainer. Williams is versatile and active enough defensively to be worth a deep-league add.
* Nikola Pekovic was having an awful time trying to score on the length of DeAndre Jordan and then left with a quad contusion. The Wolves might be forced to start Greg Stiemsma if Pek misses time.
BUCKS at SUNS RANDOM THOUGHTS
* I really thought that the coaching change and the move to the starting five would get Ersan Ilyasova going. It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Even Jim Boylan appeared to lose faith in this one as Ilyasova got just 19 minutes. I’m fine with moving on in standard formats here.
* Marcin Gortat got in some early foul trouble and predictably struggled against Larry Sanders. Note that in the eight games before this one, the Polish Hammer was averaging 13.1 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 37.1 minutes. He’ll be fine.
HEAT at LAKERS RANDOM THOUGHTS
* Pau Gasol (concussion) finally made his return, coming off the bench for 12 points, four rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes. Look for him to start next time out, replacing Earl Clark at the four. Note that Antawn Jamison got just 21 minutes in this one – he’s going to get squeezed now that Pau is back.
* LeBron James went off for a season-high 39 points to go with eight assists, seven rebounds, three steals and a block – and it’s just another day at the office. We could go 40 years without seeing another player like this.
* Kobe Bryant started off shooting the ball 3-of-16 and had nine points through three quarters. As Charles Barkley noted on Inside the NBA, perhaps asking a 34-year-old to guard the opponent's best player and play 38.7 minutes a night is a bad idea.
INJURY FAST BREAK
* Zach Randolph (back) missed practice Thursday. Consider him very questionable for Friday’s game against the Kings. … Avery Bradley (ribs) is questionable Friday. … Jason Richardson’s troublesome knee is acting up again. Even if he plays Friday, we can no longer expect those extra minutes Doug Collins was talking about. … Andrew Bynum (knees) was spotted doing light shooting and running at practice Thursday. For now, he’s on track to debut sometime in mid-to-late February. … Jordan Crawford (ankle) should be back within the week, but he’s returning to a crowded backcourt with John Wall healthy and Bradley Beal beasting.
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