Morning shootaround — Feb. 27


VIDEO: Highlights for games played Feb. 26

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Bulls hoping for quick Rose return | Paul George returns to practice | Earl Lloyd passes away | Buyouts not working out for Clippers | Rip Hamilton retires

No. 1: Bulls hoping for quick Rose return — When it was announced earlier this week that Bulls point guard Derrick Rose would need knee surgery, many jumped to the belief that he would miss the rest of the season and postseason. But in a press conference yesterday, Bulls management was bullish on the belief that Rose could be back by the end of the season, and be ready for the playoffs, following surgery scheduled for today, writes K.C. Johnson in the Chicago Tribune

The procedure, which team physician Brian Cole will perform, is a removal of part or all of the meniscus. This type of procedure typically is used to address subsequent tears of the meniscus that Rose originally tore in November 2013.

In that surgery, which Cole also performed, Rose’s meniscus was repaired or reattached, and he missed the remainder of the 2013-14 season. A meniscectomy typically involves a shorter rehabilitation period.

The Tribune, citing sources, has reported there is considerable optimism that Rose’s second meniscus tear is small. Until the surgery is performed and Cole determines how much of the meniscus needs to be trimmed, it’s unknown what the timetable for Rose’s return is.

The Bulls said general manager Gar Forman will address that issue after the surgery. At the team’s annual charity event Thursday night, a feeling of hopeful optimism emanated from team officials.

“Nothing’s an easy procedure, but our anticipation is that there’s an area that’s going to get taken care of and the hope is that he will (play this season),” executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said.

Added Forman: “I don’t want to speculate until (Cole) goes in (Rose’s knee), but we’re certainly hopeful.”

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No. 2: Paul George returns to practice — Just under seven months since suffering a gruesome leg injury while playing for Team USA, Indiana Pacers forward Paul George returned to practice yesterday with the Pacers. George bested his personal goal of returning by March 1, and was able to take part in 5-on-5 drills. While there is no date set yet for a return to game action, the Pacers are two losses out of the 8th playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. As Candace Buckner writes in the Indianapolis Star, the Pacers and George are remaining patient…

Though George has been cleared to practice with teammates, the Indiana Pacers still have not set a timetable for his return to playing in games. Previously, George had said he would like to play in his first game by mid-March. However on Thursday, George, who suffered an open fracture of the tibia and fibula bones in his lower right leg on Aug. 1, would only repeat his optimism for such an early comeback for the court, without stating a firm date.

“I’m still hopeful,” George said. “That’s the date that I wish to return. (But it’s a) long ways away, still got some steps and some hurdles to overcome. That’s still a goal of mine.”

Pacers coach Frank Vogel defined Thursday as simply the next stage in a seven-month-long rehabilitation process, but with many more days ahead before a full return.

“We want him to come back when he’s ready to come back. He’s eager to get out on the court, but he’s not going to do it before he’s ready,” Vogel said. “We understand once he’s medically cleared to play in a game, then there’s going to be: Is he ready to play in a game? And that could be a few more weeks beyond that. It’s really going to be something we monitor almost on a daily basis and hopefully it progresses as well.”

Over the past several weeks, George has increased his level of activity, hopping in and out of drills and plays with teammates. On Thursday, George had no limitations in his first entry into full-court, 5-on-5 work. Still, Vogel said George’s day was not markedly different from his previous workouts in practices.

“This is not a dramatic step from where he was,” Vogel said. “Just taking a step. Nothing more than that.”Still, this “nothing” provided the next achievement toward a full recovery.

On Thursday, while C.J. Miles climbed on the elliptical bike in the weight room, George turned his practice jersey to the blue side – the color worn by the starters – and worked as part of a five-man lineup that included George Hill, Solomon Hill and Roy Hibbert.

George mostly operated from the left wing and top of the key. Once, the ball swung his way and George attempted a mid-range jumper.

“Good shot, P.G.!” several players called out though the ball missed the target.

Another time, George dropped down in a defensive stance and showed no reluctance in chasing speedy point guard Donald Sloan to the paint. Although there was never a time in the final minutes of practice – at least in front of the assembled media – when George had to show explosiveness or make a strong basketball move, several teammates approved of his play.

“He looked good,” Hibbert said. “He’s going to have some rust, but all in all, I think he did a helluva good job today.”

Added David West: “He’s a ways away, he’s just got to keep working and working toward getting more healthy. But everybody’s behind him. We’re going to support him. He’s out there jumping in and out and doing alright.”

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No. 3: Earl Lloyd passes away — Earl Lloyd, the first black player in NBA history, passed away on Thursday at the age of 86. As our own Sekou Smith writes

A 2003 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame as a contributor, Lloyd served as pioneer and true barrier breaker for generations of African-American players and other players of color who followed his path into the league.

Lloyd suited up with the Washington Capitols on October 31, 1950. Charles Cooper and Nat Clifton would join him in the 1950-51 season, an arduous journey during those tumultuous times, but one that Lloyd, a former West Virginia State star, survived all of the drama and won a championship in 1955 with the Syracuse Nationals. Lloyd finished his 10-year playing career with the Detroit Pistons and when he retired he was 43rd on the NBA career scoring list with 4,682 points.

Lloyd went on to become one of the NBA’s first African-American head coaches, with the Pistons from 1971-72.

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No. 4: Buyouts not working out for Clippers — While many teams in the playoff race made moves at the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Clippers didn’t have the assets to make any major moves. They did, however, hope to sign a veteran player who was bought out from his previous team, including one of a trio of guys who played for Rivers in Boston, but as Arash Markazi writes for ESPNLosAngeles, that tact hasn’t worked out for the Clippers, either…

The Clippers could have probably used some help from the buyout market this season, certainly in light of Blake Griffin‘s elbow surgery, but simply haven’t been as successful as they were last season.

“We just haven’t been as active as we wanted to be,” Rivers said. “We thought it would be more guys, to be honest, but it’s not like we’ve been out there with a ‘For Sale’ sign.”

Rivers not only swung and missed with the Farmar and Douglas-Roberts signings on the court but neither was a real good fit in the locker room, making Rivers more apprehensive than usual when pursuing players he doesn’t personally know.

“You know a lot going into it. You really do,” Rivers said. “There are some guys you’ll take a risk on and some guys you just won’t take a risk on. Let’s just be honest: Guys who are out there, that’s what you’re trying to judge. You’re trying to judge your locker room, too. If you have a veteran-laced locker room, you’re probably willing to take more risk. If you don’t, you’re probably willing to take less.”

Rivers would have loved to add Garnett, Perkins or Allen to the mix for the stretch run, but he also wasn’t in the market to just add anybody when those possibilities failed to materialize as planned. He still thinks the Clippers will be able to compete for a championship as they are currently constructed.

“You look at San Antonio, they never [take risks in the buyout market], for the most part,” Rivers said. “They’ve taken a couple, but one of the things [Spurs coach Gregg Popovich] believes in — and I do, too — when you start with your roster at the beginning of the year and your chemistry looks good, you should be very careful, even if it’s a minor move with tweaking it. It’s worked pretty well for him, so if I can follow that, I think it’s probably a good idea.”

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No. 5: Rip Hamilton retires — Even though he last played in an NBA game almost two years ago, former Detroit swingman Richard “Rip” Hamilton had yet to make the end of his career certified by officially announcing his retirement. But yesterday, during an appearance on ESPN, Hamilton finally said he was finished. Over a 14-year NBA career, the 6-foot-6 Hamilton averaged 17.1 points per game, and won an NBA title in 2004 as a member of the Detroit Pistons. In a post on Instagram, Hamilton wrote…

I want to give a major shout out to everyone who supported me through my NBA journey. To my coaches, teammates, and fans in Washington, Detroit, and Chicago: thank you for treating me with the utmost class and respect during my career. I couldn’t have been the player I am without you! Every stop taught me valuable lessons that I will remember for the rest of my life. Although this part of my path has come to a close, my basketball journey is far from over and I am looking forward to the road ahead.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Houston GM Daryl Morey says arguing with the anti-analytics crowd can be like “arguing with a baby” … Lakers coach Byron Scott says he doesn’t believe in analytics … The Miami Heat signed Michael Beasley to a 10-day contract … The Portland Bureau of Transportation has given a memorial bike lane to the late Jerome Kersey

2 Comments

  1. harriethehawk says:

    Russell Westbrook.

  2. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Lebron for MVP…. Paul If they say you can play then play homie.