Pelicans’ Ryan Anderson out at least two months, could need surgery

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It looked like things were not good when Ryan Anderson had to be carried off the court on a stretcher. We knew things were bad when the Pelicans said he would be out indefinitely with a herniated disc in his back.

Now comes the news that Anderson will be out at least two months, and he’s not sure yet if he will need surgery to repair the issue. John Reid of the New Orleans Times Picayune tweeted out the details, and the comparisons are a little frightening.

Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson said before Monday night’s game against San Antonio Spurs that he will be sidelined for two months and could possibly miss the remainder of the season because of his herniated disc injury. He could require surgery.

Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson says he has a similar issue that Peyton Manning had. Manning required surgery in 2011 to repair a herniated disc in his neck that had been pressing on a nerve.

Manning bounced back (he’s still playing football this weekend) but it took time. Combine that with the long-term history of big men with back issues in the NBA and the entire thing is a little frightening for the Pelicans.

Here is what Anderson said, via the Associated Press.

“Obviously, I want to get back as soon as possible, but this is something that if I got hit again, it could be more than just career ending. I want to be careful about it,” Anderson said, speaking publicly Monday night about his injury for the first time since it occurred in a collision with Boston’s Gerald Wallace on Jan. 3. “We’re going to find out pretty soon how it’s healing and depending on if it’s healing (on its own), then we’ll just keep going with that. But if not, we’ll do the surgery.”

Anderson is probably the best stretch four in the NBA right now, He was averaging 19.8 points a game this season and hitting 40.9 percent from three, that despite battling through a fractured toe at one point this season.

The Pelicans without Anderson and also point guard Jrue Holiday have dropped five in a row, their dreams of making the playoffs this season dashed on the rocks of injuries.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

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Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Cavaliers on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. Especially against a team going small — the Cavaliers start Kevin Love at center — Embiid should be fed down low.

Instead, look at his shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

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NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

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.