Caron Butler

Caron Butler still working toward a comeback this season

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A ruptured patellar tendon is a particularly troublesome injury for anyone who makes a living with their legs, but Caron Butler apparently isn’t all that impressed with the injury’s potential. After initially being ruled out for the remainder of this season, Butler has been rehabbing relentlessly in an effort to rejoin the Mavs at some point later in the season. What initially began as a pipe dream is becoming a real possibility. Here’s the latest update on Butler’s status, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Mavericks forward Caron Butler was projected to miss the rest of the season after rupturing his right patellar tendon on Jan. 1, but Butler now says doctors have told him he “has a shot” at returning in the playoffs. “Trust me, I’m busting my ass to get out there,” Butler told Yahoo! Sports. “I’m not on vacation right now. I’m working hard to get out there.”

Butler’s comeback attempt isn’t exactly breaking news, but the fact that team doctors haven’t deemed his efforts futile is significant. A potential return likely wouldn’t come until the playoffs are already in progress — a scenario which presents its own set of problems — but it says a lot about Butler and his relationship with his Maverick teammates that he’s working so relentlessly when a return to the court is anything but certain. In his short time in Dallas, Butler has become a fully integrated part of the Mavericks organization, so much so that it’s actually hard to see Dallas letting him walk in the off-season.

His rehab would seem to confirm that notion; while Butler’s improved health would certainly help him independently as an unrestricted free agent, his claims to want to get back on the court to help his teammates don’t seem like mere lip service. Butler generally understands how to work the media game, but his commitment to returning to the court, rapport with his teammates, and clear value to the Mavs give his claims a certain sincerity. It remains to be seen whether Butler will actually be able to play this season (and even then, whether he’ll be able to help), but his rehabbing efforts alone speaks to his relationship with his current team.

Kings’ Rudy Gay suffers apparent torn left Achilles tendon, would be done for season

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This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.

Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.

Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.

Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. However, those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings, and the team’s playoff chances have taken a serious hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers).

Gay was not happy in Sacramento and had said planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.

That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).