Kurt Helin

Ben Simmons has surgery to repair broken foot, no official timetable for return

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We knew surgery to repair Ben Simmons broken bone in his foot — a Jones Fracture — the only question was when.

That turned out to be Tuesday. Philadelphia announced Simmons had the operation and, of course, it was called successful (like every athletic surgery). The Sixers did not give a timetable for his return to the court.

“Our sports performance and medical staff was debriefed by Dr. Martin O’Malley (Associate Attending Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City) following the procedure, and we were encouraged by the positive feedback,” saidDr. David T. Martin, Sixers Director of Performance Research and Development. “Moving forward, a comprehensive return to court program will be implemented for Ben, and we will closely monitor his progress throughout the rehabilitation process.”

While there have been rumors ranging from three months recovery to his agent trying to keep him sidelined for a full season, the reality with Jones fractures is recovery times are hard to pinpoint. Simmons fractured the fifth metatarsal of his right foot, the bone that runs from the little toe up to near the ankle in the foot, and that is an area that does not have great natural blood flow. Because of that, healing can be slow, even after surgery. If we can expect one thing from the Sixers, it’s for them to be cautious bringing back a potential franchise player.

The good news is, as evidenced by Kevin Durant and other young NBA players who have had this surgery, Simmons should bounce back and not be slowed by the injury down the line. It just may take a little time.

Frank Vogel to play Aaron Gordon at small forward, go big for defense

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There are a lot of interesting pieces in Orlando along the front line: Serge Ibaka, Nikola Vucevic, Bismack Biyombo, Aaron Gordon, Branden Dawson, and Jeff Green can play some small-ball four as well. There seems to be a lot of skill-set overlap. The question is can all those pieces fit together and turn the Magic into a playoff team?

Frank Vogel is charged with putting the puzzle together.

And he’s going big. Last season Gordon did his best work at the four and spent the majority of his playing time there, but with Ibaka in town he will now be the three, something Vogel confirmed to Adi Joseph at The Sporting News.

“I think positions still matter in today’s NBA. But (Gordon is) comfortable playing both (forward positions). You’re correct in your assessment that he’s going to be playing mostly small forward on this team. That’s something I’m excited about because I’ve always been able to build some really solid defenses, and the foundation of those teams was defensive length and athleticism. This is what we’re going to have with this club, with either Vuc or Bismack Biyombo at the five and Serge Ibaka at the four and Aaron Gordon at the three, you’ve got a really long, athletic front court, which I think is necessary if you want to be a great defensive team.”

Vogel is known as a strong defensive coach after what he did in Indiana, and it makes sense that with the players on this roster the Magic should be a strong defensive team. There are plenty of shot blockers, there is length all over the floor, and in the right system Orlando will get stops.

Can they score is another question. This is where the pieces seem and odd fit, and there may not be enough shooting (outside of Evan Fournier). Gordon was better at the four than the three. Vogel will ask Ibaka to play more inside, Vucevic will need to take steps forward, Gordon must continue on his quick trajectory of growth, and the big question is if Elfrid Payton can run this show at a playoff level? We know what Scott Skiles thought of that idea, we’ll see if Vogel can make it work.

Derrick Rose to play in Knicks preseason opener Tuesday, then fly to L.A. for trial

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Tuesday, the New York Knicks open their preseason in Houston.

Also Tuesday, the $21.5 million civil trial alleging Derrick Rose and two associates raped a woman opens in Los Angeles.

Rose will play for the Knicks Tuesday and at his trial by the time of opening statements, reports Stephan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

Both sides of the Rose trial have tried to sway public opinion with statements and revelations, to the point the judge issued a gag order to quiet things down. There had been rumors of a last-second settlement in the case, but that did not happen, and the jurors for the case are being selected Tuesday. The length of voir dire can vary, however, the trial itself is expected to start Thursday.

It is not known now long Rose will be away from the Knicks.

As a side note, Joakim Noah will be out of the Knicks preseason opener due to a hamstring issue.

Stacey King does not know how to pronounce Giannis Antetokounmpo. Not even close.

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It takes a little practice to say Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s name right. The Greek Freak’s name is unusual in Western cultures, and so everyone who has to say it has put in a little practice.

Except, apparently, Bulls color commentator Stacey King. Because this is not even in the ballpark.

I don’t want to knock him because King is an entertaining color guy to listen to — he’s passionate. Yes, a homer for the Bulls, but in a fun way. Plus if you watch the Bulls broadcast you know every once in a while he’s going to do something like this, where he just did not see what was coming.

He’ll get used to it, everyone is going to be saying Antetokounmpo’s name for years to come, this is a player about ready to break out.

Watch Dallas’ Seth Curry go for 20 in Mavericks’ preseason win

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We’re going to focus on the positives in Dallas’ preseason win — we’re not going to get into Harrison Barnes‘ 1-of-10 shooting night, coach Rick Carlise said he liked the shots he got, they just didn’t fall.

The positive was Seth Curry, who found his stroke and dropped 20 points on Charlotte, providing some much-needed outside shooting for the Mavericks.

NBA preseason games mean less than a Facebook quiz about which Harry Potter character you are, be careful reading much into this. But if you’re a Mavs fan, it’s a good reason to smile on Tuesday.