Associated Press

Pacers’ Victor Oladipo recovering from season-ending knee injury

1 Comment

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Victor Oladipo‘s season-ending injury occurred in the same area of his right knee that forced him to miss 11 games earlier this season.

He is uncertain if the two are related. At this point, the star guard for the Indiana Pacers doesn’t really think it matters.

For now, Oladipo remains in Miami, on crutches, working his way back into shape so he can return to Indianapolis before the end of this season after rupturing the quad tendon in his knee.

“I can’t say it’s related, but I really wouldn’t know. I can’t really say it is not related because I wouldn’t know that, either,” Oladipo said during a conference call. “Sure, it might be connected but who knows. I’m not focused on the past because I have no control over that just like I have no control over the future.”

There is no timetable for his return to the court.

In his first public comments since hurting the knee on Jan. 23, Oladipo acknowledged the soreness he felt in November and December was in the same general area as the more serious injury – just above the right knee. A few days before he went down, while scrambling back on defense against Toronto, Pacers fans openly questioned whether Oladipo was 100 percent and cited, in part, Oladipo’s statistical decline.

He averaged 23.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals, all career bests, in 2017-18 when he made his first All-Star appearance and was named the league’s Most Improved Player. This season he was averaging 18.8 points and 1.7 steals though his rebounding total increased to 5.6. He was selected to his second All-Star team following the injury.

While Oladipo declined to draw a direct link between the initial pain and the ruptured quad tendon, he acknowledged the surgeons removed all “unnecessary things” in the right knee.

“In the quad tendon area, yes, very similar. (I was) just doing the necessary things they felt was best to get stronger,” Oladipo said, describing his rehab regimen from the sore knee. “It was just a freak accident.”

After beating Toronto on the night Oladipo was taken off the court on a stretcher, the Pacers lost their next four games – their longest skid in more than 12 months. Oladipo told reporters Monday he was disappointed and felt as if he had let down his teammates.

But Oladipo helped turn things around when he met with his teammates before they played at Miami on Feb. 2.

Indiana beat the Heat 95-88, the first victory in a five-game streak going into Monday’s home game against Charlotte. They’re still No. 3 in the Eastern Conference standings and Oladipo still hopes to play an active role in the Pacers’ fate.

“If I have my two cents or if I see something, I might text the players or coach,” he said. “But for the most part when they came and visited me in Miami, I told them what I thought they needed to hear. The team is very capable of doing special things without me.”

 

At least one team is off Khris Middleton’s free agency list already (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Milwaukee Bucks star Khris Middleton has a player option next season that allows him to become a free agent this summer. Milwaukee, currently the best team in the Eastern Conference, would no doubt like to keep one of their top players.

But several suitors will come calling for Middleton, who would like to secure his long-term future at age 27. The Bucks will have some serious thinking to do, especially because their cap situation gets a little less fluid if bidding gets high on Middleton. How much do they really want to go near the luxury tax to keep him around?

In any case, Middleton is starting to gather a list of places he wants to play next year. That’ll include Milwaukee, but Middleton will listen to offers from other suitors. The way teams have paid to add second or third stars to their roster, the Bucks guard could get expensive.

One place Middleton isn’t looking to go? The Cleveland Cavaliers.

Speaking with Kristine Leahy, Middleton said that he wasn’t likely looking at Northeast Ohio this summer.

Then again, whether Middleton returns to Milwaukee is a real question. The Bucks have some cap space to spare, but need to decide what to do with Eric Bledsoe and Nikola Mirotic. They also have just $1 million guaranteed to George Hill, so flexibility is there if they want it.

At this moment, Milwaukee’s ownership appears positioned to try and come in a bit low on Middleton. In a feature published by Zach Lowe on Thursday, owner Marc Lasry said that it’s unlikely Middleton gives the Bucks a discount to stay.

The Bucks know they might have to pay $30 million per season to keep Middleton. “Does he love Milwaukee enough to re-sign?” Lasry asks. “Yes. Enough to give us a real discount? No.”

Milwaukee is a popular choice to make it out of the Eastern Conference right now, which is interesting in and of itself. But things could get even more curious come summer.

Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday will play reduced minutes rest of season

AP
Leave a comment

The Anthony Davis Saga with the New Orleans Pelicans has been one of the oddest, most missed managed trade request in recent NBA history. And that’s including whatever happened with Kawhi Leonard last season with the San Antonio Spurs.

Davis made himself one of the focal points of NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte after leaving at halftime of the final Pelicans game before the break. Davis has issued several statements since then, including a bit of a meltdown at Saturday practice availability in North Carolina.

Of course it’s just a matter of time before Davis plays for another team, but we will have to wait until summer for that to happen. In the meantime, both sides are at sort of an impasse with Davis clearly not wanting to play in New Orleans anymore. The Pelicans, naturally, don’t want their asset to become injured and therefore reduced in value.

But Davis is going to play, and according to the team and interim general manager Danny Ferry, both Davis and Jrue Holiday‘s minutes will be reduced from here on out.

Via Twitter:

This makes sense sort of no matter what. New Orleans is no longer a playoff bubble team, and so a reduction in minutes for their top stars this season makes sense anyway.

Hopefully we don’t have to hear much about this moving forward. If we can get through the rest of the year without dealing with more weird Anthony Davis talk, I think we will be better for it.

Meanwhile, let the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks try to gather up their best offers to snake him away from the Los Angeles Lakers. No doubt something crazy will happen this summer with Davis just given how it’s already gone so far.

Paul George says he talked to Nike about his shoes after Zion Williamson injury (VIDEO)

Getty
3 Comments

The basketball community lost its collective mind on Wednesday night when Duke Blue Devils star Zion Williamson was injured after blowing out a pair of Nike basketball shoes in a rivalry game against the University of North Carolina.

Williamson’s injury was such that shares of Nike actually fell come Thursday. Meanwhile, the debate about whether Williamson should continue to play for free in the NCAA raged on all day.

Of course Williamson was wearing Paul George‘s signature shoe when he experienced the blowout, which apparently prompted the Oklahoma City Thunder star to contact Nike about it.

Via Twitter:

George’s shoes are very popular across basketball, and he told reporters that this had never happened to his knowledge.

I do wonder if players will be more reticent to wear one of the more popular shoes in the NBA. Then again, Williamson is a freak of nature in of himself so it’s not likely that the forces created by his power would be exerted by a normal player in the league.

Zion Williamson’s sprained knee became bad day for Nike

Getty Images
3 Comments

When presumptive No. 1 pick Zion Williamson went to the ground, his knee twisting, early in Duke’s game against North Carolina Wednesday night, the basketball world collectively gasped.

Former President Barack Obama was there and quickly recognized the problem:

It did, unquestionably. The  6-foot-7, 284 pound Williamson was wearing the  PG 2.5 PEs (the Paul George signature line of Nikes), and when he made a hard cut the shoe gave out and Williamson went to the ground in a heap. The television cameras closed in on the busted Nike.

That’s not good press.

Fortunately, Williams suffered only a mild, Grade 1 knee sprain, and is day-to-day.

Nike released a statement to multiple media outlets that said, “We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery. The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.”

Nike stock dropped one percent on Thursday, although that level of fluctuation is not serious.

Bottom line, if this remains an isolated incident, Nike’s reputation — and position as the dominant force in basketball shoes — is not in danger. Fans and players will forgive one random incident. Have it happen again to a high-profile player and… Nike doesn’t want to find out.