I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but amidst the ridiculous number of Carmelo Anthony trade rumors is an actual basketball team in Denver that’s still playing games now and again. They’re not bad, either, but apparently fall a bit short of Anthony’s expectations.
Regardless, Chris Andersen — Birdman and the Nuggets’ energy big extraordinaire — is ailing a bit. Andersen only plays about 20 minutes a night when healthy, but Denver has been without that 20 minutes of high-energy play for 22 of their 37 games this season. That loss hurt a bit earlier in the season (when the Nuggets were also without Kenyon Martin), but for now, the combination of Martin, Nene, and Al Harrington are able to fill in for Andersen quite easily. That’s the thing about role players: their impact of injuries, inconvenient though those injuries may be, can be mostly negated with stopgap solutions and lineup shifts.
So it’s not too much of a bother that according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, Andersen will sit out a week or so in order to rest his injured knee and back. It’s not going to affect Denver’s bottom line in any meaningful way, and the only chance that Andersen’s absence has a legitimate impact is if a Carmelo Anthony trade goes down during Andersen’s absence. The timing of a trade could render several of Denver’s players inactive (including Al Harrington or Shelden Williams, who are rumored to be involved in potential trade packages) for a game or so, and that coupled with Andersen’s injury could cause the Nuggets to dig deep into their bench (hey there, Melvin Ely) in order to fill minutes in the frontcourt. Then again, if the Nuggets opt to trade Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, does it even matter if they’re short-handed and could lose a game on depth?
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.