Joel Embiid has stress fracture in right foot, scheduled for surgery Friday

35 Comments

Joel Embiid’s draft stock is falling. The question is how far.

Reports of an injury in his foot turned out to take a serious turn and will require surgery, as first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Joel Embiid has suffered a stress fracture in his right foot and will have surgery Friday, agent Arn Tellem said.

“Joel will be unable to participate in any additional workouts and will not attend the draft in New York,” Tellem said.

The fracture is in the navicular bone, which is on top of the foot above the arch.  This is the same surgery New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had, it is also the injury Yao Ming, Bill Walton and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had during their careers. That should scare teams.

The surgery will put screws into the bone to secure it. After the surgery Embiid will not be able to put any pressure on the foot for about six weeks, then weight can be added but recovery takes at least four and up to six months.

You can bet whoever drafts him will be thinking long term and be cautious here. Don’t expect to see Embiid on the court until around Christmas at the earliest. Missing much longer is not out of the question, his team may keep him out the entire first season (as the Clippers did with Blake Griffin and the Sixers did last year with Nerlens Noel).

That is not helping the draft stock of a guy that might have gone No. 1 before this all went down.

It is expected the Cavaliers will take either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker with the No. 1 overall pick, the Bucks likely to take the other at No. 2. The Sixers already have Nerlens Noel, might they draft Dante Exum at three (to pair in the backcourt with Michael Carter-Williams) leaving Embiid to drop to the Magic at No. 4 or the Jazz with the No. 5 pick. Either the Celtics (sixth) or Lakers (seventh) would be thrilled to see Embiid fall that far (remember the Lakers drafted Andrew Bynum with knee questions at No. 10 years back).

This injury throws the entire top end of the draft up into the air, as well as raises questions about Embiid’s ceiling and ability to stay healthy. Remember he missed the end of the season with a stress fracture in his lower back. Big men with back and foot injuries give teams pause.

Potential No. 1 pick Joel Embiid suffers stress fracture

LeBron James finishes left-handed alley-oop with head behind backboard

Leave a comment

We have reached the point with LeBron James and his legendary career that the incredible almost seems ordinary — he has made our jaws drop so many times it’s hard for him to clear the bar of amazing anymore.

He did Saturday night against Utah.

In transition, LeBron gave up the ball to Jeff Green, who returned the favor with an alley-oop pass. Just not a particularly good one, it was behind James.

So he reaches back with his left hand and throws it down as he ducks his head under the backboard. Then LeBron stops and stares at his left hand, like he can’t believe what he just did.

We can’t either.

Carmelo Anthony standing ovation in return to Madison Square Garden

1 Comment

Knicks fans may have had their frustrations with Carmelo Anthony, but they know how much he has meant to the franchise over the years. He pushed to be a Knick and chose to stay, he carried the franchise for years.

Saturday night he returned to Madison Square Garden in an Oklahoma City Thunder uniform after a trade this summer, and he was welcomed with a retrospective video followed by a standing ovation from the crowd (you can see all of it above).

Well done Knicks fans. Well done.

Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will not travel with team for 25 days due to legal issue

Getty Images
1 Comment

The Lakers’Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed his new team’s first two games this season due to a suspension for a DUI case in Michigan.

But that was not all. Caldwell-Pope’s came with probation, and to get out of it early the Lakers’ forward has to go through an intensive rehab program — one that does not allow him to leave California with the team for 25 days. He did not play against the Cavaliers and that is just the first of multiple games he will miss, a story broken by Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Caldwell-Pope was originally cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated but pleaded guilty in May to the lesser charge of allowing someone to operate his vehicle while under the influence, which carried a 12-month probation.

On Thursday, Caldwell-Pope had to return to California to begin an intensive program over the next 25 days that will result in some travel restrictions and could cause him to miss additional games but will end his probation early.

The Lakers are in a home heavy part of their schedule, and by my calculations KCP would only miss one or two games (for sure against Houston Dec. 20, then maybe against Golden State Dec. 22, but that is in California). The Lakers next road game after that is Dec. 31 in Houston again.

Caldwell-Pope signed a one-year, $18 million deal with the Lakers last offseason, and he has gone on to become one of the few reliable three-point shooters on the team, hitting 36.1 percent from beyond the arc, taking 6.1 shots from there a game. He’s been solid on defense and a player the Lakers’ need, although his overall efficiency is closer to average.

If the Lakers are successful with their big game hunting during free agency next summer, Caldwell-Pope will not return to the team. In a tight free agent market, he may once again not see offers near what he sees himself worth next summer. That said, his play in Los Angeles has been good. And now he will not have this legal issue hanging over his head during free agency.

LeBron James is good with televising All-Star team selections

Getty Images
1 Comment

From the moment the NBA announced changes to the All-Star Game team selection format for this season, most NBA fans — as well as most media members I know — have wanted a live team selection show.

As a reminder, this year (as in past years) fans will vote for their favorite All-Stars, and those votes will be combined with media and player votes to name the five starters from each conference. Then the coaches will vote to select the teams.

What’s different is the top vote-getters from each conference — let’s be honest, it will be LeBron James in the East and Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant in the West — will be named captains and they will then pick their teams from the pool of other selected players. No East vs. West. If LeBron gets to choose first and he picks James Harden, then Harden is on that team. Curry can go second and select Giannis Antetokounmpo or whoever he wants from the starters pool, then the captains move into the reserves pool. Old-school playground style team picking.

Who wouldn’t tune it to watch that selection show?

The NBA officially has not decided yet if the selection process will be broadcast, but it probably won’t be. The reason is some player is not going to like being picked last (or next to last) and his agent will like it less. It gets political (would Curry have to choose Durant or Draymond Green first to keep his teammates happy?).

LeBron basically said Saturday why not televise it? From Nick Friedell of ESPN, when LeBron was asked if it would bother him to go against teammates in the All-Star Game:

“I hope not,” James said after Saturday’s shootaround. “We’re all grown men. It doesn’t stop their paycheck from coming. It won’t stop you from playing time once the season starts.”

And is he good with the pick order being made public or done live.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” James said. “It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, if I’m rewarded to be a part of the All-Star Game again, that’s cool for me. It doesn’t matter. All that other stuff is extracurricular.”

That’s the right attitude, and whoever got picked last would say that publicly. But privately… who knows? Depends on the guy.

That selection show would be must-watch television. The NBA needs to broadcast this. But it won’t. Politics will win out.