Howard moves one step closer to suspension

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Last night, Dwight Howard picked up a technical foul with the Magic nursing a two-point lead in overtime against the Heat. Not good.

Orlando lived, because the Magic are a better team with better chemistry and more depth. That one point the Heat gained off of the technical free throw bore only fleeting significance, as late game surges by Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis put Orlando over the top and kept them there.

Last night, Dwight Howard picked up a technical foul with the Magic nursing a two-point lead in overtime against the Heat. Not good.

Orlando lived, but in this case the Magic’s short-term success in spite of Dwight’s tech may be offset by the long-term implications: that technical foul was Dwight’s 15th of the year, just one short of a mandatory one-game suspension. Howard’s next T will be met with a game on the bench.

Not to play the ‘poor, pitiful Dwight’ card here, but big men are pushed, pulled, held, and fouled in ways that most others players and refs are completely oblivious of. That’s the burden of being the biggest, baddest dude on the court, and when your presence is as menacing and influential as Howard’s, you’re going to get fouled. A lot. Only some of those fouls are going to be called, because officiating is an undeniably human element of the game we know and love.

Big men often have a reason to complain, and while the calls for Dwight et al to just “play the damn game” are justified to an extent, I sympathize. I’ve seen undersized players hook Howard’s arm as he goes up for a rebound. I’ve seen them tug on his jersey. Hell, I’ve seen Howard do the very same things to other players.

That doesn’t make things any less frustrating for the always expressive Howard, but it does speak to this kind of trench warfare as a fact of life. I don’t know if that justifies Howard’s complaining to the refs or removes its base entirely, but Dwight should cut it out regardless. Orlando isn’t in a particularly vulnerable position right now, but that doesn’t mean Howard and the team can’t tread softly in order to avoid losing a bit of the momentum they’ve built up in recent weeks.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist taken to hospital after shoulder injury

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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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.

Derrick Rose expected to rejoin Bulls on Wednesday

Derrick Rose
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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.