Southeast Notes: Millsap, Heat, Wall, Hornets

Hawks power forward Paul Millsap recently underwent a procedure to reduce mild swelling in his right knee, relays via a team press release. The procedure was not surgical and all indications are that he will be ready to play at the start of the season, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter links). Millsap, who has averaged 17.1 points and 9.0 rebounds last season, has earned a reputation of being an iron man since joining the league during the 2006/07 season. He appeared in 81 regular-season games and 10 playoff games last season and has never missed more than nine games in any season.

In other news around the Southeast Division:

  • Nevada Smith has been named head coach of the Heat’s D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald reports. Smith previously coached the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers for two seasons. Former Heat point guard Anthony Carter will join Smith’s staff. Former Skyforce Dan Craig has joined Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s staff along with Octavio De La Grana, who served as a Skyforce assistant coach last year.
  • Wizards coach Scott Brooks is uncertain about point guard John Wall’s status for the start of training camp, according to Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. Brooks is unsure when Wall, who underwent two knee operations during the offseason, will be cleared for five-on-five contact. “He’s improving,” Brooks told Buckner. “His body looks great [but] his conditioning is going to be behind. Once you step into an NBA practice, the level goes way up. Especially in a training camp situation where you have guys trying to make it, guys trying to fight for minutes, trying to fight for starting jobs, but we have to make sure [about Wall] because that’s when things can go sideways.”
  • The Heat’s decision on whether Chris Bosh will be cleared to play is not a function of the salary cap, Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun-Sentinel writes. Bosh, who has been diagnosed with blood clots in his leg the past two seasons, must be cleared by medical personnel and the rules of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement have to be followed, Winderman continues. Neither the team nor the players’ union will draw a line in the sand over one player, especially when either could opt out of the CBA as early as mid-December, Winderman adds.
  • The return of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from injury and the addition of free agent center Roy Hibbert raises the defensive ceiling for a team that already ranked in the league’s top 10 last season, according to Basketball Insiders’ season preview of the Hornets. Basketball Insiders takes an optimistic view of the Hornets, with its reporters predicting anywhere from a first to third-place finish for the club this season.
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