Kurt Helin

Minnesota Timberwolves v Orlando Magic

Ricky Rubio to have “clean up” ankle surgery

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Minnesota had already shut down Ricky Rubio for the season. Rubio injured his ankle back on Nov. 7 and, while he made a brief comeback, it has not been right, and he had not played much like the Rubio everyone expected. So a few weeks back coach/GM Flip Saunders made the obvious official and ended his season.

Now comes the next step: Surgery to clean up that ankle. Here’s the official Flip Saunders quote via the Timberwolves official press release.

“We have closely monitored the status of Ricky’s ankle injury during the rehabilitation process. Ricky recently experienced ongoing soreness in his left ankle and it became apparent that it was not responding according to its anticipated timeline for recovery. As part of this process we sought numerous opinions as to the best course of action. Ricky was most recently seen by Dr. Richard Ferkel of the Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Los Angeles and it was concluded that the best option would be to pursue diagnostic arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle. 

At the time of his initial injury we stated the importance of Ricky’s long-term health. He is an integral part of our future and we are taking every precaution to ensure that he will be able to perform to the best of his ability next season.”

The surgery is just a “minor cleanup” reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports. As Rubio is just finishing the first year of a new four-year contract extension, thinking about the long term and getting him right for next season isn’t just the smart play, it’s the only play. Rubio played in just 22 games this season, averaging 10.3 points and 8.8 assists per game. He remains a fantastic playmaker and shooter with a wonky shot.

Rubio recently suggested he is going to take the summer off from the Spanish national team. After this surgery, one would hope so.

Grizzlies’ point guard Mike Conley has sprained foot, could linger into playoffs

Mike Conley
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Mike Conley is arguably the most underrated player in the NBA, an All-Star level point guard who plays in the shadow of Memphis’ massive front line of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. He is the perimeter balance to their outside game plus is an elite defender.

And he’s injured.

Conley sat out Friday night when the Grizzlies barely held on to beat the Jazz on the road. Officlally, Conley suffered a sprained right foot Wednesday night against the Pelicans, and it’s something that could have Conley sitting the rest of the regular season. It could linger and impact him come the playoffs.

From the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Conley said the injury feel like he’s constantly walking on a golf ball. There is inflammation and swelling above the plantar fasciitis, making it so Conley can’t put much pressure on his right foot or run and jump effectively.

There also is a notion that Conley could miss the Grizzlies’ final three regular-season games – something Conley hoping isn’t the case.

“I don’t want to shut down. I’d like to be playing and in a rhythm going into the playoffs as opposed to sitting,” Conley said. “But I’ve a had a bad little stretch with injuries. I don’t know what the smart thing to do is but I’m going to do the right thing for myself and the team.”

More than a sprain, that sounds a little like plantar fasciitis. Something that would linger into the playoffs and impact Conley.

Memphis is currently the two seed in the West but is just half a game up on San Antonio, one up on Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers. They are already without Tony Allen, their best perimeter defender, and missing Conley as well for the remaining three games of the regular season could see them fall down the standings.

But if Conley and Allen are not ready and close to 100 percent for the playoffs the Grizzlies could be one and done. They could be anyway, a number of people around the league see the Grizzlies’ success as matchup dependent — if they stay the two seed and get Dallas they likely advance, get the Clippers or Spurs and they may be in big in trouble.

Especially if Conley and Allen are not 100 percent. And they may well not be.

Andrew Wiggins steals ball, starts break, dunks on two Lakers (VIDEO)

Minnesota Timberwolves v Houston Rockets
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That is your future Rookie of the Year.

Andrew Wiggins has been a scoring machine of late, and that continued Friday night when he dropped 29 on the Lakers. Wiggins was aggressive all game, and it showed here with the steal, he brings it up himself in transition, then just goes to the rim no matter how many Lakers are there. And he can finish.

The Lakers went on to win the game in the battle of lottery teams.

Jrue Holiday returns to Pelicans’ lineup Friday, on minutes restriction

New Orleans Pelicans v Sacramento Kings
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The last time we saw Jrue Holiday on the court it was Jan. 12. Back then, he was key to the Pelicans’ backcourt averaging 15.2 points and 7.1 assists a game, plus he was shooting 36.7 percent from three. Even more than that, he’s a quality defender that the Pelicans need on the perimeter.

However, a “stress reaction” in his right leg sidelined him for more than three months.

Friday night Holiday will be back albeit in a limited role. Coach Monty Williams said this at shootaround, as reported on the Pelicans’ official site.

“He won’t be playing more than 15 minutes a game for the rest of the season,” Williams said. “Unless he feels better and we feel like he’s not in harm’s way – then we’ll increase it. But I doubt that he’ll get to his normal minute allotment. Jrue’s a guy who can play 35 to 40 minutes a night, but he won’t get to that.”

 

Holiday likely takes minutes away from Toney Douglass and Norris Cole. That’s an upgrade.

In Holiday’s absence the Pelicans have transformed — Tyreke Evans is the guy with the ball in his hands more — but they have battled back and are currently the eighth seed in the West. They are tied with Oklahoma City, but the Pelicans have the tie breaker.

Holiday returns against Phoenix, a team with a quality backcourt where his defense could be useful. The Pelicans need wins to stay in the playoff mix.

Blake Griffin says he’d give MVP to James Harden

Donatas Motiejunas, Blake Griffin, James Harden
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My sense among media members is that Stephen Curry is going to win the MVP award. It’s close, but talking to people I think that’s where the majority of votes would go.

My sense is that players are leaning toward James Harden. Blake Griffin is the latest in the list of players to back the Rockets’ star, with the theory that he had to do more to carry the Rockets to a top playoff seed. Hat tip to the LA Times for the video.

Which will make it interesting when the players vote for their own awards at the end of the season. There probably aren’t going to be radical differences, but who ends up on top of the MVP ballot may be one of them.