One of the more positive recaps in recent weeks. Less injury news, more injury return news. Check the breakdown, along with this week’s best dunk.
D-Rose down, again. — Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Derrick Rose suffered a knee injury and will need surgery. In a seemingly unbelievable turn, the Bulls point guard tore his right meniscus this week, and he had surgery Friday morning to remove the ligament. That procedure is the same as players such as Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade have undergone in the past, obviously to varying degrees of future health in their knees.
The Bulls are presently hoping Rose will be able to return to in time for the playoffs and are projecting a 4-to-6 week timetable for his recovery.
Rose has spent most of this season rounding into shape, so who knows how much he would even be able to contribute to a postseason run, but hopefully he will return in good health both now and into the future. It’s a bummer to see the way injuries have plagued such a good player and person.
Westbrook breaks face, also out. — After notching three-straight triple-doubles with Kevin Durant out of the lineup, Russell Westbrook broke a bone in his face during Friday’s loss in Portland, and it will cause him to miss Sunday’s games with the Lakers.
Per Royce Young, the injury is actually a fractured zygomatic arch, a bone in the upper-back part of the jaw. Young also tweeted Westbrook is expected to be re-evaluated later in the week, and Woj indicated on Twitter that his return could be swifter than expected, which seems to be pretty normal for Westbrook at this point.
Darren Collison done for the season. — In more point-guard-related injury news, the Kings are expected to be without their starter for the rest of the season. Collison started well for the Kings, but his play has declined with the rest of the team since the firing of coach Mike Malone.
With the playoffs out of reach and Collison on a multi-year deal, Sacramento is expected to rest his hip flexor for the remainder of the season rather than pushing for a late-season return.
NBA to release officiating reports. — In an interesting move billed as a move toward “transparency,” the league and commissioner Adam Silver have announced the “Last Two Minutes” program: “[providing] play-by-play reports regarding all calls and material non-calls that occur in the last two minutes of close games and during entire overtime periods,” according to the NBA’s website.
These will obviously be hugely interesting pieces of literature going forward, especially in games with “blown” calls. Credit the league, however, with taking a pleasantly surprising step toward accountability.
Rondo, Carlisle trying to come together after suspension. — The Rajon Rondo trade continues to not work out for the Mavericks, who saw the mercurial point guard get into not one, but two post-game altercations with coach Rick Carlisle this week, despite the resulting one-game suspension after the first issue.
Rondo has struggled to integrate to what was once a free-flowing Dallas offense, and his recent issues with one of the NBA’s best coaches probably doesn’t bode well for the free-agent-to-be’s future in Dallas, either.
Mudiay makes unprecedented return in China. — After badly injuring his ankle a couple months ago, expected lottery choice Emmanuel Mudiay, a point guard playing professionally in China this year rather than spending it at a US college, was thought to be done playing until his first NBA action. His injury was bad enough that his Chinese club signed Will Bynum to replace him, which typically signals the end for injured players of import, since they’re more expensive.
Instead, Mudiay stayed in shape, the Guangdong Southern Tigers activated him in the playoffs, and he’s expected to start their next game with Bynum in the backcourt. This is a good sign for Mudiay’s commitment and an even better sign for his draft stock.
Bosh returns home from hospital. — Keeping with the good news, Chris Bosh was able to return home from the hospital this week after his blood clot scare. He will still miss the rest of the season, but it’s just good to know that he will be OK in general.
KG makes big Minnesota homecoming. — Despite the pedestrian stat line of 5 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 19 minutes, Kevin Garnett’s return to Minnesota was a thing of beauty, as the fans were pumped, giving several standing ovations, and so was KG, saying after the game that the warm reception was noticed and appreciated. He even bought 1,000 tickets as a “thank you” to fans.
Paul George returns to practice. — The Pacers star returned to full practice this week, and although he’s allegedly not close to game action, just the possibility of seeing him on the court so soon after such a gruesome injury is very exciting.
No doubt, with Indiana already in the 8th seed and bearing down on the 7th spot, the Pacers are excited about having George back with a chance to surprise some people in the playoffs.
Larry Sanders speaks. — The maligned former Milwaukee big man wrote a short essay for the Player’s Tribune this week that was light on detail and heavy on defiance, and rightfully so. Sanders has obviously struggled during the last couple of seasons, and hopefully he will be happy in his hiatus from the league, however long it might be.
RIP Anthony Mason and Earl Lloyd. — Last but not least, the RIPs go out to a pair of former players this week. Mason was a popular Knicks big man who came out of nowhere during their ’90s hey-day, while Lloyd was the first black player in the NBA, helping pave the way for what is a predominantly African-American player pool in the league today.
DUNK OF THE WEEK: Markel Brown, throws it down. And it rhymes.