Wizards’ Nene out 4-6 weeks with sprained knee, no surgery needed


When is being out 4-6 weeks with a sprained knee good news?

When you are about six weeks out from the playoffs and you thought you were going to lose an important contributor through the postseason.

The Washington Wizards were concerned starting big man Nene could be gone for the season but an MRI Monday revealed only a strain, reports Ben Standig at

Nene, who injured his knee in the Wizards win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, will miss approximately six weeks with a sprained left MCL, the Wizards announced Monday evening….

Should Nene miss the full six weeks, he would be out until the week of April 7. The Wizards final regular season game takes place in April 16.

Barring an outright collapse, the Wizards will make the playoffs in the East (they are currently the five seed, five games ahead of nine-seed Detroit). But if they are going to need Nene and more than just his 14.2 points and 5.8 rebounds a night, they need his defensive presence.

Check out the numbers. When John Wall and Marcin Gortat are paired the Wizards are +7 per 48 minutes, or +6.5 per 100 possessions. When Nene and Wall are paired Washington still looks good at +5.4 per 48, or +5.3 per 100 possessions.

But when Nene, Wall and Gortat played together they were +10.1 per 100 possessions and allowed only 95.7 points per 100 possessions (the only team with a better defensive number than that is the Pacers). With those three healthy the Wizards are a team with a shot at the second round (so long as they stay out of the seven or eight seed).

And they should have all three for the playoffs (*knocks on wood*)

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.