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PBT Extra: Klay Thompson’s injury highlights concern with NBA concussion protocol

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When Trevor Ariza’s knee hit Klay Thompson in the head, everyone in the building and watching at home knew it was ugly.

Yet after a few minutes he was back on the sideline, his ear was stitched up and ESPN’s sideline reporter Dorris Burke was clearly told “he didn’t need to go through the concussion protocols.” She’s too good a reporter, she did not make that up, someone with the Warriors told her that.

After the game — and showing symptoms — Thompson was put through a concussion protocol and shown to have symptoms. He now has a week until the start of the Finals to clear the NBA’s protocols and be cleared for that game.

But how this was handled raises questions that Jenna Corrado and I discuss in this PBT Extra.

PBT Extra: Did Chicago make the right move in firing Thibodeau?

Chicago Bulls v Brooklyn Nets
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Chicago just fired a very successful coach who helped craft the identity of their franchise, a guy who twice led them to the best record in the NBA.

But was firing Tom Thibodeau the right move?

Yes… but now the Bulls have to hire someone who can take the team to another level. That is the real challenge.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss the Bulls moves and their love of all things Fred Hoiberg in this new PBT Extra.

Report: Scott Skiles also being considered for Pelicans job

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You know how it goes in a job search, you can’t get a nibble seemingly forever, then when one door starts to open you suddenly seem to have a few people beating down your door.

Welcome to Scott Skiles world.

The experienced NBA coach is considered a frontrunner to land the Orlando job because the former Magic player is a favorite of the owner. And owners get what they want. But now his name is popping up in the New Orleans coaching interview process, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.

Scott Skiles has unexpectedly emerged as a candidate for the ‎New Orleans Pelicans’ vacant coaching position, according to league sources….

Skiles also has a longtime admirer in the New Orleans organization in Pelicans general manager Dell Demps, who played for Skiles when he coached in Greece.

Here’s why I take this rumor with a little bit of salt: If I wanted to push the Magic to move sooner rather than waiting around on Skiles, this is precisely the kind of rumor I would lead. Make them think someone else is coming for him.

Skiles is a defensive minded coach, and the Pelicans need help on that end, so there is some fit there. Not so sure he fits in terms of modernizing the offense or using creative lineups. Plus, if Demps is a little hesitant to bring in Tom Thibodeau (if/when he is let go by the Bulls) because Demps has already had issues with a strong-minded, defensive coach in Monty Williams, what does he think he’s getting with Skiles?

But the rumor is out there.

Dwight Howard: “I’m still a champion. And I won’t let anyone tell me anything different.”

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five
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There are times Dwight Howard says things — well-intended things — that just come off as his foot in his mouth.

He had one of those moments on the podium Wednesday night, after his Houston Rockets were eliminated from the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors. Here’s his answer on the difficulty of overcoming the injuries the Rockets’ had, as reported by Matt Moore of CBSSports.com’s Eye on Basketball.

“It’s tough, but I won’t stop fighting,” Howard said. “I’m going to continue to push myself to the limit and remember that, no matter how he season ends, I’m still a champion. And I won’t let anyone tell me anything different.”

 

I would like to think we can all cut Howard some slack on that statement, because it reads to me as he believed this team could win — and you want him to think that. I’d be worried if he didn’t believe his team could be a champion. Plus he had a strong series for Houston.

But we all know that’s not going to happen.

Howard is not a champion. He did lead the Orlando Magic to the Finals one year, but that’s not how he’s remembered. There are a lot of fans — many of them based in Los Angeles — who think he lacks the heart and passion to win it all. I’d argue that’s more about his teammates and health — one cannot will oneself to a title by himself. Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant to get past the Bad Boy Pistons. But he couldn’t get along with Kobe Bryant and is a guy who wants the game to be fun.

His reputation isn’t going to change until he wins. For some, nobody’s a champion until they are. For Howard, he’s already there.

Klay Thompson showing “concussion-like symptoms” following knee to head

Klay Thompson
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This is where the week off until the Finals tip off benefits the Warriors.

It looked nasty when Klay Thompson was kneed in the head by Trevor Ariza in the fourth quarter (is there any time a knee to the head doesn’t look nasty). When it first happened, the team was more concerned about the cut on Thompson’s ear.

Then that changed, the team said in a statement, via Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com.

“Klay Thompson was evaluated by the Warriors medical staff immediately after suffering an injury during tonight’s game and was put through a concussion evaluation. At the time he did not show any concussion-like symptoms. After the game he began to not feel well and developed concussion-like symptoms. He will continue to be evaluated by the team’s medical staff tonight.”

To get back on the court now, Thompson will have to pass the league’s protocol. That involves him passing a series of tests (against a baseline taken before the season started), doing so through increased physical activity. This is overseen by the league’s neurologist.

How long recovery takes varies with the severity of the injury and the player. That said with the Finals a week away expect him to play .