The Pelicans have sustained their share of injuries this season and head coach Monty Williams is adjusting to how players are managing themselves, writes Jimmy Smith of the Times-Picayune. “Times have changed,” Williams says. “The way that people view the game now is totally different than the way the game was viewed back in the day. Most injuries, when I came into the league, you didn’t talk about them. It was a sign of weakness to be in the training room.” With players taking a more cautious approach with regards to their injuries, teams could shift their strategies and start valuing depth as a more precious commodity, although that is just my speculation.
Here’s more from the Western Conference:
- Grant Jerrett has finally made his debut for the Thunder and his teammates are ecstatic to see the second-year player getting a chance to take the court, writes Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman. “I told him yesterday after the game: ‘Man, you can’t even stop smiling, boy you so happy you hit your first NBA bucket,’” Kendrick Perkins said. “But I’m happy for Grant. He’s been working hard. You always like to see a guy like Grant get a feel for the game and play a bit.” The Thunder drafted Jerrett in the second round of the 2013 draft and signed him last April for the rest of the 2013/14 season. Oklahoma City re-signed Jerrett to a four-year, minimum salary contract this offseason.
- Injuries have forced rookie Nick Johnson onto the court for the Rockets and the team expects him to be a contributor, writes Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle. Starting point guard Patrick Beverley is healing from a strained hamstring and reserve point guard Isaiah Canaan left Friday’s game with a sprained ankle. “You just have to go out and play your game,” coach Kevin McHale said. “Nick Johnson cannot become someone he is not overnight because an opportunity is there. He has to be a good Nick Johnson. He has to be able to attack the basket, make plays for others and try to get to the line.”
- With new additions and several key players returning from injuries, it was wise not to panic when the Nuggets struggled early in the season, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. “Early on in the season, I thought we were a little bit too cool, a little too laid-back coming out,” said head coach Brian Shaw. “We started out 1-6. To have an 8-8 record in November, going into December after the way we started, it just goes to show if we defend and we play this way, now our slate is clean. We have something to build on.”