Larry Bird received a vote of confidence from the Indiana Pacers’ top offices today, in a move that guarantees the Pacers will be nowhere near above .500 and yet never get a significant draft pick for years to come.
Bird’s reluctance to properly detonate the Pacers has been seen primarily as an avoidance caused by fears of plummeting ticket sales, but at this point, the Pacers are on a slow bleed. You don’t opt out of surgery because you’re afraid of the trauma when you have internal bleeding. Combine that with his preference for drafting players whose college pedigree far outweighs their pro potential, and you have a franchise that seems to be headed nowhere fast.
Still, Bird is a legend, and has tried to maintain that there is a longterm plan in place. At least with Granger and Hibbert (along with Price, and if he’s ever healthy, Hansbrough) they have somewhat of a talent base, but you just get the feeling like unless there is a significant rebuilding effort in the future, the future will remain bleak for Indy.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
We likely won’t know more about the extent of his injury until tomorrow, but if it was serious, that would be a major loss for the Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist is their best perimeter defender and an important piece if they hope to compete for a playoff spot this year.
CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is nearing a return to practice with the Bulls. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a fractured left orbital suffered in practice on Tuesday, Rose’s recovery is going as expected and he’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.
“The follow-up [exam] went very well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Saturday. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that site heal, and they think the best way for him to do that is to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back on Wednesday morning.”
Rose won’t be able to participate in practice for another week after that — Hoiberg said the previously announced two-week timetable for returning to basketball activities remains on schedule — but with a radically different offense, there’s a lot to learn, and just being around the team to watch practices and learn the new play sets is important.
“We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today,” Hoiberg said. “Because again, like we talked about [Friday], we’ve added new sets, new things, so we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”
The two-week timetable puts Rose’s return to basketball activity around next Wednesday, October 14. From there, it will be a matter of getting him back into game shape before Hoiberg is comfortable playing him in games.
Hoiberg said earlier this week that he is optimistic Rose will be able to play when the Bulls kick off the regular season at home on October 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.