LAS VEGAS — Bad news for Team USA, which has lost another big man.
Bad news for Blake Griffin as he is about to have a second surgery on his left knee just days after signing a new, max five-year, $95 million contract on Wednesday.
Griffin suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee during a scrimmage on Wednesday, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. He did not play in Team USA’s exhibition win on Thursday night and will have surgery on it early next week, the report states.
Griffin will not be playing for the U.S. Olympic team in London later this month, but he will be available for Clippers training camp that starts in October.
The Clippers confirmed this on the team Web site.
This is the same knee Griffin had surgery on before his rookie year and the same knee he sprained in the playoffs. However, the new injury is reportedly unrelated to those injuries.
Griffin joins Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and LeMarcus Aldridge as USA bigs forced to pull out of Olympics due to injury.
Anthony Davis — the Kentucky star and No. 1 overall pick of the Hornets in the draft — has been called back up to the national team (he was in Las Vegas anyway to play on the Hornets Summer League team). He played part of the fourth quarter Thursday night against the Dominican Republic, had a put-back offensive rebound under the basket and an and-1 three with the foul. You could see LeBron James and other Team USA players working hard to pump Davis up.
But Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski added that this is a blow.
“Blake is one of the best players in the league,” Coach K said. “Anthony Davis at some time is going to be one of the best players in the league, but Blake is a proven commodity. And if we don’t have him that’s a big loss. He was playing really well for us.”
Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.
The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.
The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.
Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.
Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.
Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.
“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”
The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.
Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.
LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.
Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?
Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.
LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.
To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.
It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.
There were a couple of good ones, however.
Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.
One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.