No. 1: Kobe on shelf at least three more weeks — It seems the calendar is starting to run out on Kobe Bryant’s season. Despite the Lakers star’s insistence that he intends to return to the lineup, his body may have a different opinion. Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports continued problems with the injured left knee and team doctors say it will be three more weeks before Bryant is evaluated again:
Missing three more weeks before another evaluation brings the calendar to March 14, at which point there will be only 17 games left in the regular season for the Lakers.
And even if Bryant is cleared for contact drills at that point, he would assuredly need some additional practice time before he could make a return.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni was asked if Bryant would return at all this season after the Lakers’ 101-92 win Friday night over the Celtics.
“I don’t know,” D’Antoni said. “That’s out of my hands. We’ll see. I have no answer to that one.”
Teammate Pau Gasol simply offered his support.
“I know it’s tough for him and it’s been a very tough year for him,” Gasol said. “I just hope that he gets healthy. If it takes a little longer, it takes a little longer. If that means he might not play this season, I’m sure he’ll stay positive and look ahead. So, the main thing is he’s got to be healthy.”
No. 2: Rondo annoyed by constant trade talk — The trade deadline came and went and Rajon Rondo is still wearing the green and white of the Celtics. But that doesn’t mean the All-Star point guard is happy with his name constantly being linked with other teams. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald says Rondo’s less than full commitment could be a problem:
“I mean, it gets annoying at times,” Rondo said. “It’s been like that the last eight years though.
“Still, like I said, this is what I do for a living. It’s not who I am. I play basketball for a living for the time being, but I’ll be 28 (today) and have a long life to live. So I have a lot of things going outside of basketball for me right now, and it’s part of what happens when you’re an NBA player.”
He is approaching the last 27 games of the Celtics season with a certain equanimity (though he will approach tonight’s game in Sacramento in street clothes, not yet ready to play in a back-to-back as he returns from a torn ACL.) He is pleased with how most of this is going, and he spoke up for his coach.
“I mean, obviously not our record, but guys like playing for Brad,” Rondo said. “He’s a very positive coach. He’s encouraging. And you want to play for a guy that’s encouraging you to do the things out on the court that’s better for yourself and for the team. Any time you have a person in your corner with a positive outlook on things, it’s a good thing.”
We cannot be sure of what goes on beyond our view, and there is evidence that Rondo is both better with his mates than we know and a little too dour at times. But you’d have to believe that if Rajon Rondo fully realized and embraced his power to effect positive change, it would be an extremely good thing for the Celtics.
And it might be enough to render moot that next round of questions in May.
No. 3: Same old wrong: Grizzlies top Clippers and CP3 injures hand — It is starting to get repetitive. The Clippers go into Memphis and lose another close game and now, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Chris Paul has another injury to contend with:
To make matters worse for the Clippers, All-Star guard point Chris Paul suffered a sprained right thumb late in the fourth quarter while trying to get a rebound against Marc Gasol.
It already had been a tough night for Paul. Although he had 18 points and 14 assists, he missed nine of 13 shots. In two games since the All-Star break, Paul has gone five for 23 from the field. And the Clippers have gone 0-2.
Paul had missed 18 games because of a separated right shoulder, but came back to play in two games before the All-Star break.
Now he is struggling with his shot and has another injury to deal with.
“I can’t catch a break,” said Paul, looking down at his swollen right thumb.
No. 4: Kings won’t try to fit Terry into lineup this season — Don’t expect to see Jason Terry in the Sacramento line down the homestretch of the season. The Kings say they are not looking to buy out the veteran point guard, but want him to rehab at home in Dallas as they concentrate on their young players, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee:
Terry, 36, instead will rehab in Dallas in preparation for next season. Terry had left knee surgery in the offseason and hasn’t felt right all season, coach Michael Malone said.
Terry was acquired along with forward Reggie Evans for Marcus Thornton on Wednesday.
Terry is averaging a career-worst 4.5 points on 36.2 percent shooting this season. Knee problems have limited Terry to 35 games this season and a career-low 16.3 minutes per games.
The Kings indicated they did not plan to buyout the remainder of Terry’s contract, which has one more season on it worth $5.45 million.
Even if Terry were with the team, playing the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year would not have been a top priority.
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VIDEO: James Johnson does it all by himself