Dragan Bender had minor ankle surgery Feb. 8. Do you still expect him back this season? Ryan McDonough: We don’t want to put a hard date on it, but I do think at some point – whether that’s mid-to-late March or April – that he’ll come back and play. The surgery went well. His rehab up to this point has gone well. He’s off crutches. I believe he’s out of a walking boot already so it’s been a very smooth process
Nike designer Tony Hardman said there was a point where nobody at the brand knew if they’d be moving forward with a Paul George signature shoe or not. “You don’t know if a guy is gonna come back from an injury like that,” Hardman told Sole Collector. “That’s a crazy injury to try and come back from. So, even for me as a designer, it was almost like the resource was kinda put on hold for a little bit. We don’t know what’s gonna happen with Paul.”
“It wasn’t really on my mind whether I lost the shoe or if that dream was out the window or not,” George told Sole Collector. “During that time period I was more concerned that my job was at stake.” In retrospect, Hardman calls the injury a blessing in disguise in that it gave the design team more time to get to know George. It also pushed back the debut date of the Nike PG1 shoe, which was originally scheduled to release in 2016.
Jabari Parker received an avalanche of get-well messages after suffering a season-ending left anterior cruciate ligament tear last week. One of them came from Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, who immediately texted Bucks coach Jason Kidd. “I don’t do this often,’’ Van Gundy said of his text. “But I love the way plays; he plays hard. And he seems from the outside like not only a good player but a high character guy “I texted Jason (Kidd) right away when I heard about it and just said, ‘Hey, I feel awful about him.’ I don’t like to see anyone get hurt, but when it’s a good, young guy who goes about it the right way, you really feel bad for him. “I wanted to convey my condolences to Jabari.’’
Embiid told ESPN Radio that he’s “hopeful” of returning to the Sixers’ lineup after the All-Star break “if I’m asymptomatic.” The 22-year-old has missed Philadelphia’s past 11 games (and 14 out of 15 overall) due to a bone bruise in his left knee. “I’m not worried at all,” Embiid said. “It’s a bone bruise. [The media] talked about a meniscus [injury], but I’m being treated for the bone bruise.”
The Sixers provided the following statement from GM Bryan Colangelo on today’s Ben Simmons news: We continue to monitor the recovery of Ben’s injury and are employing a conservative and thoughtful approach to his rehabilitative program, basing his return to full basketball activity on the advice and direction of medical professionals. His next CT scan is scheduled for February 23, after which our medical team will thoroughly review and evaluate his status moving forward. Ben’s long-term health remains our primary concern.