Mike Richman: Damian Lillard said he's been doing hot y…

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As of right now, Lillard doesn’t sound like he’s still fully comfortable. Stiffness in the foot, after nearly two weeks of stretching and massages to get the foot right, and conditioning, more than soreness, are his main concerns. “I’m building my wind back,” Lillard said. “It’s just a little bit of stiffness because I haven’t made certain movements. For five years now I’ve been constantly doing this stuff every day. But two weeks of just stretches, massages and stuff like that. If I get back there it’s going to be a little stiff.”
Lillard said that he also worked out hard on the foot in a New Year’s evening workout with assistant coach David Vanterpool and guard Tim Frazier. “I’ve been working out hard on the court for a couple of days,” Lillard said. “Last night I came in and worked out hard on it. This is the second time I’ve practiced even though (this one had) more contact. It’s more about being on the floor. I haven’t played in almost two weeks now. I’m not just going to get out there a few times and bring something to the game.”
At this point, Lillard said, he's more concerned with regaining his playing stamina, which has taken a hit during his 11-day absence. Lillard said he will evaluate how his foot responds Sunday morning, test it during a morning shootaround and then make a pregame decision about whether he'll play when the Blazers visit the Denver Nuggets at 6 p.m. He said he would prefer not to be on a minutes-restriction whenever he returns and coach Terry Stotts said that will be decided by Lillard and the Blazers' medical staff. Could Lillard have played Thursday, when the Blazers lost to Utah? Probably. But he wants to make sure when he returns, he returns for good. "Once I'm back, I'm back," he said.
After missing the last four games and possibly more, Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has a new nickname. “Coach Lillard, that’s what they call me now,” Lillard said following Tuesday’s practice where the two-time All-Star said he participated in some “live” drills but was still not a full participant. Whether Lillard has to embrace the suit and chatting up referees during timeouts instead of throughout the entire game is still an uncertain matter. The pain from an ongoing battle with plantar fasciitis is gone in his left foot, but Lillard is still waiting for the comfort to return. “It’s just a little bit stiff,” Lillard said after running on the left foot. “I haven’t played on it. I have been so busy trying to take care of it and do the right stuff that it’s a little bit stiff.”
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July 31, 2021 | 3:05 am EDT Update
Here’s what Wojnarowski reported on ESPN’s morning show ‘Get Up’: “Philadelphia is still asking for a lot. Teams are not willing to be strip-mined to trade for Ben Simmons. They’re going to continue to try and find a way, to see if there’s a deal here as free agency starts. You kind of get another cycle of deal-making here. But he’s four years left on his deal, they’re not going to just give him away in Philly. Whatever they get back for him, they’ve got to believe it continues to make them a championship contender. But they’d like to get a deal done before training camp.”
That pushed Hield to the forefront. But even as the possibility of a deal built around Kyle Kuzma and Harrell began to form, the Lakers kept the door open to a Westbrook deal. Westbrook asserted his voice into the conversation, and per an NBA source, the Wizards pivoted. Just like that, the pieces the Kings liked for Hield were no longer available.
Italy made it to the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games after storming back against Nigeria to secure the win, 80-71, at Saitama Super Arena on Saturday. Nicolo Melli and Achille Polonara put the finishing touches on a 14-0 sprint generating a 70-64 lead. The European side held on to secure the victory punching in the ticket for the next round. The team led by Meo Sacchetti will rank first in Group B if Germany beats Australia by a margin of 17 points or less later in Tokyo. It will be in second place in any other case. A helpful reminder, the three group winners and the best-placed second will be seeded for Sunday’s draw.