NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Kaman injures finger while tobogganing in China — Lakers big man Chris Kaman is one of the league’s more skilled post players and one of its most avid outdoorsmen. No surprise, then, that when L.A. landed in China to prepare for its preseason game against Golden State on Tuesday that Kaman ventured off to do some tobogganing. But while on that trip, Kaman suffered a minor injury to his finger that he doesn’t expect will hold him out of the game, writes Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
The Lakers have experienced Kobe Bryant‘s torn Achilles’ tendon, Pau Gasol‘s knee problems and Steve Nash‘s broken leg over the last year. Now there’s the tobogganing injury sustained by Chris Kaman at the Great Wall of China.
One of his fingers was squashed while he was sledding down a slippery concrete track after trekking along the wall for two hours Sunday with Lakers teammates and staffers.
His sled, essentially a wheeled cart with a brake, was rammed from behind by teammate Shawne Williams. Kaman instinctively put out his hand as he saw Williams careening toward him and, well, ouch.
Visitors to the Mutianyu portion of the wall take a gondola or cable car to the top of a hill where the wall is located. They can return the same way or take the toboggan down.
“I didn’t hit the brake the whole time. Guys on the edge were yelling ‘Slow down’ and I just kept going,” Kaman said. “All of a sudden I catch up to this guy close to the bottom, so now I have to brake. Shawne Williams comes behind me without hitting his brake at all and just smashed right into me.”
Williams was going 20-25 mph hour and Kaman was going only about 3 mph at the time of the collision, Kaman said.
“My hand smashed right between the two sleds. I didn’t feel the end of my finger for, like, an hour,” Kaman said, extending a bandaged, swollen middle finger. “It’s starting to throb a little right now.”
No. 2: Jazz rookie Burke out 3-6 weeks? — During the first quarter of Utah’s preseason loss to the L.A. Clippers on Friday, rookie guard Trey Burke fractured his right index finger in a play you can see here. Burke’s father, Benji, who is also his agent, doesn’t expect surgery to be in the cards for the young point guard, but may miss 3-6 weeks. That means the Jazz are likely looking at John Lucas III as the starter come opening night, writes Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune:
For now, John Lucas III is captain of the ship.
With rookie Trey Burke sidelined for an estimated 3-6 weeks after fracturing his right index finger, Lucas is easily the most accomplished point guard left standing in the Jazz’s training camp.
“I’m just going to play,” he said. “I’m going to come in and hold it down. My whole thing is to come in and play right away. Whatever Ty wants out of me, that’s what I’m going to do, no matter what.
“I live for this game and, when the opportunity comes, I’m going to step it up. I ain’t shying away from nothing. I’m just going to play hard, play tough and play with a lot of energy.”
Burke will be examined by a hand specialist Monday, when a decision on possible surgery will be made and his official time-frame for returning will be announced.
Burke’s father, Benji, is also his agent.
On Sunday afternoon, he sent The Tribune a text message that read, “Not sure on surgery. Looking at three to six weeks, guessing. [Trey] is in great spirits.”
No. 3: Adelman lays into Timberwolves — After a 2012-13 season marred by constant injuries and disappointments, the Timberwolves have gone through the preseason more or less unscathed (save for the injury to Chase Budinger). At 2-2, though, they aren’t drawing a lot of praise from their coach, Rick Adelman. He recently told the Star Tribune‘s Jerry Zgoda that he’s upset with Minnesota’s lack of consistency and bemoaned the team’s failure to cut down on turnovers thus far as well:
“They’ve got to figure out what they want to do as a team,” Adelman said. “I just told them, ‘What kind of season do you want?’ That’s really up to us to make what we want. They’ve got to figure out what they want to do as a team.”
He criticized their lack of concentration and preparedness and lamented a second consecutive game when his team had as many turnovers as assists. On Saturday, it was an even 16 in each category, a sure sign his players are not moving and sharing the ball.
“I don’t understand,” he said. “Like I told them afterward, we’ve played two games here at home and we’re acting like we’re just going through the motions. We aren’t the San Antonio Spurs and we aren’t Miami. We act like we have plenty of time.”
In fact, the Wolves have just three preseason games left before their Oct. 30 season opener. They do, however, now have more than a week before they play again.
“Maybe it’ll help us,” Adelman said about the upcoming break. “Maybe it’ll wake us up.”
The Wolves have played the last three of these first four games without starting shooting guard Kevin Martin, who again didn’t play Saturday because of a sore Achilles tendon. Alexey Shved started in his place and Adelman took good looks in both halves at a small backcourt that included starter Ricky Rubio and reserve J.J. Barea.
The rest: Rubio and Barea combined to shoot 2-for-17. Add Shved’s 0-for-4 night and the three made two of 21 shots.
“Awful, our guards went 3-for-whatever it was,” Adelman said, adding training-camp invitee Othyus Jeffers’ 1-for-1 night. “They’ve got to come in and they’ve got to make plays. It’s not just the guards. The shooting problems carry right to the same thing: What’s your mental attitude? How are you approaching the game? Are you really doing this thing all out or are you going through the motions?
“I know it’s the exhibition season, but we’re trying to get better and we really can’t get better if we don’t go out with better effort than we’ve shown.”
No. 4: D-Will could miss start of season — Deron Williams continues to deal with a nagging right ankle injury that could last into the season, says Nets coach Jason Kidd. Williams hasn’t played in any of Brooklyn’s preseason games thus far and has been ruled out (along with Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry) for the next preseason game against the Sixers. If anything, writes Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com, the timetable for Williams’ return remains iffy at best:
Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd left open the possibility that point guard Deron Williams could miss the start of the regular season due to an ailing right ankle.”This is going to be a question that we’re probably going to have to deal with every day until he does get the green light to go,” Kidd said Saturday.
“But we’re not rushing him. So if we have to start the season with him still trying to get better, I think we all feel comfortable, but we would feel a little bit more comfortable if he was starting.”
Williams, on Sunday, said there was no definitive timetable for his return.
He felt Kidd’s comment was overblown by the media.
“I’m not going to respond to anything about yesterday, about this stupidness,” Williams said. “That’s just how somebody worded a question, and you guys just write it the way you want to, so I’m not going to respond to that.”
Kidd, asked after Saturday night’s 99-88 preseason loss to the Pistons about Williams possibly being out the first regular-season game and how it would change the mindset of the team in its next five preseason games, said, “I didn’t know he was out so … ”
Kidd later added: “I don’t go on ifs … right now we are playing with the guys that are dressed, and he is a day by day situation. If he is ready to go, he will play. We will just take it one day at a time. We got to focus on Sunday.”
Williams sprained his right ankle during an offseason workout in Utah.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Corey Maggette will retire if he doesn’t make the Spurs … Nuggets point guard Andre Miller, 37, believes he can play until he’s 40 … Cavs still searching for a capable starting small forward … Pelicans should have their full roster ready to play by this week … Evan Fournier still an unknown quantity for Denver