The San Antonio Spurs (and the Brazilian national team) dodged a bullet. Tiago Splitter dodged some long-term, season-altering damage to his muscle tissue.
Splitter was injured while playing against Venezuela in a pre-Championship tournament game, but according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, it’s been diagnosed as a minor thigh contusion. Splitter has actually been cleared to resume play already, but could miss a few of the lead-up games to ensure his availability for the big show.
The Mavs’ Rodrigue Beaubois broke a bone in his foot last week while training with the French national team, making it hard to blame any team official for living on pins and needles until the World Championships are over. International competition is always a tense subject around NBA owners and the like, and Beaubois’ injury combined with Splitter’s minor ailment won’t be helping things.
The FIBA World Championships have already taken their first NBA casualty in Beaubois (though depending on the severity of his injury, he could theoretically be available for opening night), and things could get even worse. Splitter is a crucial part of the Spurs’ plans for their upcoming season, but he’s hardly the only valuable NBAer risking injury to play for his country. Though this year’s crop may be low on traditional superstars, guys like Russell Westbrook, Luis Scola, Marc Gasol, and Nene could still break their NBA teams’ season by suffering a significant injury.
Hopefully that won’t be the case, as the World Championships remain one of the few beacons of hope for basketball fans during the off-season. There may be more reluctance to compete all around if the threat of injury becomes something more. That may not deter foreign players from channeling their basketball nationalism, but I think it’s safe to say that an injury to any notable NBA player (American or otherwise) would disrupt Team USA’s delicate balance. At some point, even the prestige, honor, and marketing opportunities of the Olympics aren’t worth the injury risk, and a season-ending fall by one of their contemporaries would act as a sobering dose of realism for participating NBA players.
Addressing coach Frank Vogel on Monday, Pacers president Larry Bird said: “What I don’t want to do is leave Frank hanging — there’s other jobs out there he could get.”
Two days later, Vogel is still left hanging.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
If Bird’s statement isn’t the kiss of death, I don’t know what is.
Vogel is a good coach, and based on what we can see from the outside, the Pacers should keep him. But if Bird is waiting this long to give Vogel a new contract, that’s probably a telltale sign.
I doubt this lasts past tomorrow. Bird won’t want to get grilled about Vogel’s job status then do it all over again once he makes a decision. And at face value, Bird has the decency to end this saga before Vogel misses on the Rockets job (which I think would be an excellent fit) or any other.
Stephen Curry said there’s a “pretty good” chance he plays in Game 3 Saturday.
The bad news: Warriors general manager Bob Myers says Curry isn’t qualified to make a definitive statement.
Myers on 95.7 The Game, as transcribed by Diamond Leung of The Mercury News:
“I know everybody wants to know is it going to be Saturday, is it going to be Monday? It’s in that range, but it’s hard to say. But those games (3 and 4) are so close together.
“I don’t know if he’s coming back (ahead of the two-week timetable),” Myers said. “Nobody knows. He doesn’t know. He thinks he is, but that’s good.”
The good news: Myers puts Curry on a similar timetable. With Golden State leading the Trail Blazers 2-0, it probably doesn’t matter whether Curry returns Saturday, Monday or next Wednesday for Game 5.
As long as he’s healthy enough to stave off a potential Portland comeback and produce in the conference finals, the Warriors can’t ask for more.
Eric Griffin – a 25-year-old former D-League All-Star who signed with the Heat, Mavericks and Pistons the last three preseasons and was still trying to play his way into the NBA – has been charged with attempted murder.
Sam Gardner of Fox Sports:
Griffin was arrested Friday on attempted murder charges after he and another man, 23-year-old Daquan Lundy, allegedly fired several rounds at a third individual outside an Orlando, Fla., apartment building.
The alleged victim, 24-year-old Treavor Glover, told police he was approached by two black males as he walked from his car to his apartment at approximately 1:19 a.m. on April 27.
Glover told officers that he’d never met or seen either of the men who attacked him, but informed police that his girlfriend’s brother, Gino Nicolas, was murdered in a separate shooting the week prior and claimed that rumors are circulating among Nicolas’ friends that Glover is friends with the alleged shooter in that case.
Klay Thompson capped a 9-0 game-tying fourth-quarter run with a 3-pointer, and Draymond Green had a message for the Trail Blazers:
Terry Stotts did, but that didn’t stop the bleeding. Their swagger running high, the Warriors pulled away for a 110-99 win.