LaMarcus Aldridge has quad injury, will be out for “a few days” at least

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UPDATE 8:12 pm: The Trail Blazers are now saying this is not a quadracept injury, not a hip flexor.

We’ll assume that is true, but I’m not sure it changes much. LaMarcus Aldridge will be out for a little while but the Trail Blazers need to let this rest because they don’t want this to linger into the season.

6:20 p.m.: It’s nothing major, but if it’s the kind of thing that lingers it could put a damper on the start of a Portland season that should be bright compared to recent years.

LaMarcus Aldridge has a hip flexor strain that could keep him out a few days at the least, reports Chris Haynes at CSNNW.com.

“Anytime a player misses time because of an injury, it’s a concern,” (Portland coach Terry) Stotts told CSNNW.com. “But hopefully it doesn’t keep him out for an extended period of time. But there’s always concern when a player has an injury….

“I don’t know how long it’s going to be,” he said. “I don’t know even want to say if it’s a few days or weeks. It’s just too early to say.”

The injury came during a non-contact drill. While Aldridge did not participate in practice Thursday he was riding a stationary bike.

The All-Star forward averaged 21.1 points and 9.1 rebounds a game last season for Portland. While Damian Lillard grabbed the headlines, this team needs Aldridge to play well to reach the playoffs.

In other news on the Blazers injury front, Will Barton suffered a concussion when elbowed in the head by Meyers Leonard during a drill. He will not return to practice until he clears the league’s concussion protocol.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.