Injury Rumors

Speaking to the media for the first time since Kobe Bryant tore his left Achilles tendon Friday in Los Angeles, Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo came to the defense of Mike D’Antoni Sunday afternoon before the Nets faced the Raptors. “Sure,” Carlesimo said when asked if Bryant’s injury impacted his thought process about playing his stars in the season’s final few games. “But guys get hurt in practice. “It’s an unfortunate thing. I think the bigger thing, the one that really hurts, is late in the game. That’s the one you agonize over. How big a lead is a safe lead, when do you get guys off the floor? … That’s the one you really can’t afford to have people in there when it’s unnecessary. “When you’re playing for a playoff position, and in particular you’re playing a guy that would play 48 minutes if you’d let him, I think there’s been a lot of unfair commentary directed towards Mike. The only way you get Kobe off the floor is if you pull him off the floor.”
Colangelo went on to elaborate: “Whether he was mentally checked out or just wasn’t quite into it down the stretch, he wasn’t the same guy. I think everybody saw that, but no one wanted to acknowledge it.” “At the same time, I never felt we were quite in the game (in terms of signing Bosh to a new contract). There was too much out there, too much built up for him to take an easy out here, and he decided to do that.”
Colangelo intoned that Bosh took a long time to return from injury even though he had been medically cleared and that he started thinking ahead to his future to the detriment of the Raptors. “Despite limited swelling and any excessive damage on an MRI, he felt like he needed to sit for six more games … I’m not even questioning Chris’ injury. I’m telling you he was cleared to play subject to tolerance on his part, and the tolerance just apparently wasn’t there and he chose not to play,” Colangelo said. “The fact that our season was spiralling downward and we were hoping he’d come back sooner and we were also dealing with a few other things at that point … we were really struggling there.”
Following knee surgery Bryant is letting his body reboot instead of putting it through the usual out of season paces. “The hardest thing for me to do is to do nothing,” he said. “I have always got to be working and pushing myself. This summer is really the best training for me — to do nothing. The body needs rest and the injury has to heal. You have to recharge your body and get ready for next season. So in lots of ways, this is the hardest training for me.”
Rookie point guard Greivis Vasquez didn’t have a good showing at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. It turns out that the 6-6 player out of Maryland might have somewhat of an excuse. Vasquez is dealing with an ankle injury that the team’s doctors are expected to evaluate this week. It is possible that Vasquez might require surgery. Vasquez struggled with running the team’s offense and other NBA nuances during summer league play. The Griz remain optimistic about his competitive spirit, ability to score and the size he brings to the position.
“Absolutely. It’s a possibility,” Kupchak said. “It’s not your run of the mill type back problem. We don’t know where it’s going to end up. He’s a gamer and he loves to play. He wants to be a part of the team, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get back on the court. That’s a positive, to have the kind of player that’s motivated to get well. That’s not always the case.” Without Walton available, Kobe Bryant served as the primary backup to Ron Artest at small forward last season. Barnes, a seven-year veteran from UCLA, played 81 games with the Orlando Magic last season, averaging 8.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in 25.9 minutes. Only days before, Barnes was thought to be headed for Toronto, but a sign-and-trade deal with the Magic fell through, again putting him on the market.
The Lakers are happy to have additional depth at small forward, signing free agent Matt Barnes to a two-year contract Thursday. Unfortunately, the arrival of Barnes in Los Angeles only highlights serious questions surrounding the health of Luke Walton heading into next season. Walton was limited to a career-low 29 games during the 2009-10 regular season because of back problems debilitating enough to require surgery. General manager Mitch Kupchak said Friday that Walton will work through the summer to rehabilitate and build strength in his back but acknowledged the prospect of future surgery still exists, and even that Walton could miss the 2010-11 season.
Still, there was palpable concern for Walton. “The most important thing is that Luke make the correct decision for his life, not for basketball,” he said. “The aging process of a healthy athlete is difficult enough as it is. So we counsel Luke, and our trainers do, to try to keep the big picture in the forefront of any decision. But like most young players they want to play. Sometimes they don’t [listen.]”
The Lakers haven’t indicated if Bryant will have surgery on the finger. Bryant is finally starting to show signs of slowing down after playing more than 1,200 games and 45,000 minutes in the regular season and postseason combined in his 14-year career. Bryant sat out nine games last season because of his knee, finger and left ankle injuries, ending his consecutive games played streak at 235 in February, which was the fifth-longest streak among current NBA players at the time. Knee surgery is causing Bryant to miss out on international competition again, as USA Basketball held tryouts this week in preparation for the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey without him. “Kobe needs to rest,” said Lakers teammate Lamar Odom, who is expected to make the USA team.
The Los Angeles Lakers announced Friday that Kobe Bryant recently had arthroscopic surgery performed on his right knee. The surgery was performed last week and deemed to be a success. Bryant is in the midst of rehab, and a full recovery is expected in time for the Lakers’ training camp, which is set to begin on Sept. 25. It is the third time Bryant has had the knee surgically repaired. It was first done in the summer of 2003, and then in the summer of 2006, causing him to miss the FIBA World Championships in Japan as a member of USA Basketball.
For the second straight summer, Redd is trying to come back from major knee surgery but this time he apparently won’t even try to re-join the team until February. “We just say February, but there’s not a February date per se,” said Hammond during a press conference to introduce newcomer Jon Brockman. “It could be before or it could be after. I think it’s just somewhat of a targeted date but who knows when that’s going to be? “But at the end of the day, all we’re doing is supporting Michael as he continues to go through this process and supporting him through the re-hab. He knows we’re there for him. I know he’s working as hard as he possibly can to get himself back. There’s no doubt in my mind that he wants to continue his NBA career and he’s got a long road ahead of him to get to that point.”
Boston Celtics rookie Avery Bradley is walking again after undergoing a scope on his injured left ankle last month and has been working at the team’s practice facility in Waltham each day trying to get back on the court as quickly as possible. “I’m just trying to recover,” said Bradley, the Texas guard selected at No. 19 in this year’s draft. “I’m doing rehab, lifting weights, trying to get back as fast as possible. It’s been real good. I’m able to walk now. I’m getting better every single day.”
Tyreke Evans became the second casualty during the opening day of Team USA’s week-long training camp at UNLV. The young Kings star said he “tweaked” his left ankle when he went up to pass and came down on Tyler Zeller’s foot. (Zeller is among the collegians competing here against the NBA stars vying for roster spots on the 2010 World Championships team. Evans iced the ankle for several minutes after practice and planned to undergo some treatment later at the hotel. He is hopeful of being able to practice Tuesday.
David Lee injured his right middle finger Tuesday during his first practice with Team USA, an injury significant enough that he planned to immediately fly back to Oakland to be examined by the Golden State Warriors’ medical staff. Lee said the injury occurred when he went up to block a shot and jammed his finger against the bottom of the backboard. “I looked down and my finger was completely turned to the side,” Lee said. “It’s possibly a tendon or a dislocation of some sort. It’s something I’ve got to go have looked at either way.
Andrew Bynum will undergo surgery July 28 to mend the torn meniscus in his right knee, the Lakers announced on their website. Bynum suffered the tear during the Lakers’ opening-round playoff victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in April. His strength and mobility suffered as did his production, but he did not miss a playoff game as the Lakers went on to win their second consecutive NBA title. He averaged 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in the playoffs, down from his regular-season totals of 15 points and 8.3 rebounds. Bynum’s surgery was said to be minor and he is expected to be fit by the start of training camp in late September.