Carmelo Anthony says he took a ‘huge risk’ by not having offseason surgery to repair injured shoulder

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Carmelo Anthony played through a partially-torn labrum in his left shoulder for the entire second round of the Knicks’ playoff series against the Pacers.

The injury appeared to occur in Game 5 during the first round against the Celtics.

Anthony was affected by it off and on, but was able to increase his scoring output in each of his final three games. But all it takes is to get hit the wrong way once with an injury like this, and he could be out for an extended period of time.

That’s part of why it was so tough for Anthony to decide whether or not to have offseason surgery — get it repaired, and he’d miss time in the regular season. Allow it to try to heal on its own, and he could potentially be forced to be out even longer if it continued to be a lingering issue.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Carmelo Anthony said he took a “huge risk’’ this offseason in opting not to have left-shoulder surgery and claimed he also had a torn rotator cuff to go along with a partially torn labrum.

“I’m ecstatic going from a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum to not needing surgery,’’ Anthony said. “Let me take that back. Taking a risk in not taking surgery and letting it heal on its down. I took a huge risk in doing that. It meant I had to put more time in the offseason to do what I had to do to get it right.’’

“Everybody has their opinion and brought it to the table, everybody had their pros and cons,’’ Anthony said. “It was the last resort. Doctors sat down [explaining] what will happen if I got surgery. I wouldn’t have been able to start the season. I would’ve been out four, five months because of the severity of the tear.’’

Despite the Knicks finishing second in the Eastern Conference last year, most predict a finish of no higher than fourth this season, given the improvements made by the Pacers and the Bulls. Anthony led the league in scoring last season, and his team will need a similar level of production if they’re going to be able to keep pace.

The Knicks have a very small window here with Anthony in his prime, so saying he took a “huge risk” by opting for rehabilitation instead of surgery is in no way an overstatement of the issue. And the early returns are extremely positive — Anthony finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in just 25 minutes of action in his most recent preseason outing.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.