It wasn’t all that long ago that NBA teams would strongly suggest to their international players that they turn down the opportunity to represent their country in global basketball events held during the offseason.
With so many players from outside the United States now in the league, though, along with the fact that contracts of teams’ best players are insured against injury, that practice has ended, for the most part.
But when you hear of players suffering injuries in international play — especially during exhibitions — well, you can see where team personnel might be coming from.
Details were extremely limited, but French sports daily L’Equipe reported that Spurs point guard Tony Parker is scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday after injuring his right knee for the second time in exhibition play leading up to next month’s EuroBasket tournament.
The injury does not appear to be serious. … The injury was not referenced in a wire story about the game, nor did Parker address it in comments published by L’Equipe.
We’ll hope for the best where Parker is concerned, but the Spurs can’t be happy with even a slight injury to their All-Star point guard, considering that he was playing at less than 100 percent during the team’s Finals matchup with the Heat a little over two months ago.
Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.
Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)