You will not be seeing the Black Mamba much for the remainder of the season. As Kobe Bryant coninues to deal with a painful shin injury, the Lakers are expected to be extremely cautious with him in advance of the NBA playoffs. What had started as a relatively minor injury has brought up talk that Bryant could have played his last regular season game, though the possibility is remote. In fact, as the L.A. Times reports, Bryant is only just now moving to the phase where he can run without pain.
Bryant will now begin running again, and if that is pain-free, can begin drills that involve jumping. If there is no discomfort at that point, he will be cleared to play.
There’s a chance he will miss the rest of the regular season, though it is considered a longshot.
Bryant sitting out 10 consecutive games to end the regular season?
“I don’t think so,” Brown said before the game. “We knew it was going to be a process. We knew it
was an injury where we didn’t want to rush him back. But he is making progress.”
The Lakers have actually flourished without Bryant. Not because of his absence, don’t get worked up, Kobe fans. But because of the impetus for supporting players to step up has caused an increase in confidence and production from Metta World Peace, Matt Barnes, and others. If they can integrate Bryant successfully back into the fold without losing the chemistry they’ve developed on the floor, the Lakers could have something serious come playoff time.
Of course that’s a big if. It certainly sounds as if Bryant won’t be back until the very least another week, giving him only a couple of games to get back into full motion. Then again, considering Bryant’s experience in the playoffs, it’s hard to see him having trouble ramping up his gear to the right level. It’s awkward timing, but assuming the process heals the injury right, it shouldn’t be an area of a concern for the Lakers, and actually a welcome opportunity to rest the rest of Bryant’s body.
Joel Embiid scores over Carmelo Anthony, then they exchange words (VIDEO)
Joel Embiid gives zero… well, you know where I’m going with that.
Embiid trolls the world and backs down from no man, and that includes Carmelo Anthony. Late in the fourth quarter of the barn burner between the Thunder and 76ers Friday night, Embiid backed ‘Melo down and scored over him, then did a little jawing — which Anthony didn’t appreciate.
I love that Embiid egged on the Sixers crowd after this. He knows his audience.
Embiid talks a lot — A LOT — but he is backing it up.
For example, in the first overtime Russell Westbrook thought he made a drive that was going to win the game, and Embiid rejected him.
Rudy Gobert missed 11 games this season due to a bone bruise in his knee. While the Jazz defense suffered as should have been expected with their anchor gone, their offense found a groove without him — and with more Donovan Mitchell and Derrick Favors — resulting in Utah going 7-4 with their star center out.
Now the Jazz will be without him again for a while — he seems to have sprained his left knee just minutes into Friday night’s game against the Celtics when Favors fell back into him. That is the same knee he injured before. Gobert was forced to leave and will not return to the game.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert still needs to undergo an MRI on injured left knee, but early evaluation suggests a Grade 1 MCL sprain, league source tells ESPN.
If that diagnosis holds, it will be weeks again the Jazz will be without Gobert.
The Jazz know how to play without Gobert. Favors moves to center and while he’s not near the same defender his offensive skills got them buckets and opened up the floor. The rookie Mitchell, as well as Ricky Rubio at points, took advantage of it to give the Jazz a top-10 offense with Gobert out. They need to find that groove again.
Still, Utah needs Gobert back and himself to really reach the heights they are capable of.
Veteran NBA official Monty McCutchen to be head of referee development, training
After 25 seasons running up and down the NBA hardwood and refereeing more than 1,400 games, NBA official Monty McCutchen got a promotion.
He officiated his last game Thursday night in Minnesota and will move to a desk at the league office where his new title is Vice President, Head of Referee Development and Training.
“Monty has earned the respect of players, coaches and his peers during an exemplary career as an NBA official,” said Senior Vice President, Head of Referee Operations Michelle D. Johnson (who started on the job in October). “He understands as well as anyone what it takes to be an outstanding referee and how the league can best support its officials. With his wealth of insight and experience, Monty is uniquely suited for a leadership role in our officiating program.”
“I’m excited for the opportunity to channel my passion for the officiating profession in a new way,” McCutchen said. “While I’ll miss officiating games, I’m grateful to continue working with our incredibly talented referee staff as part of an organization so dedicated to excellence and innovation.”
Despite what some fans like to blast on Twitter (especially during the playoffs), NBA officials are the best trained and flat-out best basketball referees in the world (if you don’t think so, watch the college/scab referees from the last lockout of the refs, it was painful). Could they improve? Sure. Hopefully, McCutchen can help do that in his new position.
Kristaps Porzingis officially day-to-day, questionable vs. OKC
Turns out there is nothing to worry about. After the game, Porzingis spoke to the media and was standing on the leg, a good sign. By Friday, after a day of treatment, he was doing well. Officially Porzingis is day-to-day and may sit out Carmelo Anthony‘s return to Madison Square Garden Saturday, but the injury is nothing serious. Ian Begley of ESPN has the details.
Porzingis’ knee was “worked on” on Friday and the discomfort in his knee decreased, league sources told ESPN. It is unclear if Porzingis underwent an MRI or had X-rays to further determine the extent of the injury but sources say he did not undergo significant testing because it wasn’t warranted based on the state of the injury.
Good. We don’t need another star down with a major injury this season.
Especially Porzingis, who has led the Knicks to a 15-13 record (sixth in the East, in the playoffs) while putting up All-Star numbers: 25.5 points per game, shooting 39.5 percent from three, plus grabbing 6.6 rebounds a game. Maybe more impressive is how he has anchored a solid Knicks defense this season with his rim protection. Stay healthy and he should make his first All-Star team this season.