Aaron Gordon

Eastern Notes: Gordon, Wizards, Sheppard, Bulls’ Draft

Frustration over his hamstring injury led Magic forward Aaron Gordon to leave the Orlando campus, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. “He’s so frustrated because there were days when he felt good and looked like he might be close to playing, and (then) he can’t run, can’t sprint,” coach Steve Clifford said. “And every time he tried to amp it up and do more, he was just never all that close.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard vows not to embrace any short-term fixes in his quest to build a true contender, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “There’s no shortcuts to anywhere we’re going to,” Sheppard said. “That’s the hardest thing is to step back and look at a team and say ‘Hey, there’s ways we can probably artificially inflate this team up’ and grab a couple players and get a couple more wins and feel a little bit better at the end of the year. But is that really about winning at a really large scale, and where we want this to be?”
  • Sheppard would still like to see progress in the form of a playoff berth next season and he hopes the team’s top pick will help them get there, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. Washington didn’t move up in the lottery and will have the No. 9 overall pick. “Next year, we don’t want to rely on the draft lottery to get better,” Sheppard said. He’s also willing to move up the draft, possibly by packaging the lottery pick the second-rounder it owns at No. 37 overall, Hughes tweets.
  • The safest route for the Bulls to go with the No. 4 pick would be a small forward, either Deni Avdija or Isaac Okoro, to eventually replace Otto Porter Jr., Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times opines. Cowley explores various options regarding the pick in his article.

Aaron Gordon Leaves NBA’s Campus

Magic forward Aaron Gordon has left the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Charania explains that Gordon left the bubble due to his left hamstring injury and the “events of (the) past few days.”

Gordon, who suffered a hamstring strain on August 5 vs. Toronto, missed Orlando’s last four seeding games and had yet to play in the postseason. Despite some optimism that he was getting close to returning, the veteran forward was still unable to sprint up and down the court, head coach Steve Clifford said this week. Clifford also told reporters that the team didn’t want to risk Gordon suffering a more serious injury.

With playoff games expected to resume on Friday or Saturday, the Magic’s season could be over by the end of the weekend — Orlando currently trails the Bucks by a 3-1 margin in their first-round series.

Gordon will enter next season with two years left on his contract, having averaged 14.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 3.7 APG in 62 games (32.5 MPG) in 2019/20. He was considered a potential trade candidate before Jonathan Isaac suffered a torn ACL this summer. With Isaac’s availability for the 2020/21 season up in the air, it’s possible Orlando will be more inclined to hang onto Gordon.

Injury Updates: Westbrook, Gordon, Lowry, Mavs

After initially being ruled out for Game 5 due to his quad injury, Rockets guard Russell Westbrook was upgraded to questionable today, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle tweets.

With the Rockets and Thunder set to tip off at 5:30 pm central time tonight, Westbrook is expected to test his strained quad on the court before the game, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who tweets that the All-Star point guard will be a game-time decision.

While it remains to be seen whether Westbrook will get the go-ahead to play tonight, it sounds as if he’s getting awfully close, which means the odds we’ll see him in action before the end of the series are increasing.

Here are a few more brief injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Magic forward Aaron Gordon (hamstring) has been ruled out for Game 5 against Milwaukee, the team announced today (via Twitter). We heard on Tuesday that Gordon was still having trouble running up and down the court and that the club didn’t want to risk him suffering a more serious injury. If Orlando loses today, Gordon’s season will be over without him getting a chance to play in the postseason.
  • Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (ankle sprain) didn’t practice again today, as Marc Stein of The New York Times tweets. However, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca doesn’t necessarily view that as a bad sign, tweeting that there would be no sense running Lowry through a full practice even if he’s feeling good and plans to play on Thursday. Lowry’s status for Game 1 against Boston remains up in the air.
  • Four key Mavericks players – Kristaps Porzingis (knee), Luka Doncic (ankle), Dorian Finney-Smith (hips), and Trey Burke (ankle) – are listed as questionable to play in Game 6 on Thursday, with Dallas’ season on the line, according to Brad Townsend and Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter links).

Injury Notes: AD, Rondo, Lillard, Westbrook, Lowry, More

Although he left Game 4 on Monday due to back spasms, Lakers star Anthony Davis is expected to be good to go on Wednesday and is being listed as probable on the injury report. However, point guard Rajon Rondo is still “banged up” and likely won’t play, per head coach Frank Vogel (Twitter links via Dave McMenamin of ESPN). Rondo is being listed as doubtful for Game 5.

Meanwhile, Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, who has already been ruled out for Game 5 due to a right knee sprain, is unlikely to return this series even if Portland can extend it by a game or two, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. According to Haynes, Lillard is currently unable to extend his right leg.

Here are more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said today that he still thinks Russell Westbrook could return in the first round, but it won’t happen on Wednesday, as the team has listed Westbrook as out for Game 5 vs. Oklahoma City (Twitter links via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle).
  • Raptors guard Kyle Lowry didn’t participate in practice on Tuesday and is considered day-to-day for the time being, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, who tweets that Lowry’s status for Game 1 vs. Boston on Thursday remains uncertain.
  • Nuggets guard Gary Harris (hip), who was previously listed as questionable for Game 5 against Utah tonight, has been downgraded to out, the team announced (via Twitter). With Denver trailing 3-1 in the series, it’s possible Harris won’t return this season.
  • Heat wing Jimmy Butler has been battling a left shoulder strain but doesn’t expect the issue to limit him going forward, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. Head coach Erik Spoelstra, who referred to it as a “soft-tissue” injury, said no MRI is scheduled for now.
  • Magic forward Aaron Gordon (hamstring) appears unlikely to be ready for Game 5 on Wednesday, according to head coach Steve Clifford, who says that Gordon is still unable to sprint up and down the court and the team doesn’t want to risk him suffering a more serious injury (Twitter links via Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel).

Injury Notes: Lowry, Westbrook, Magic, Porzingis, Rondo

A foot injury suffered by Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was the only blemish on Toronto’s blowout win of Brooklyn on Sunday, as the team completed its sweep and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

According to Andrew Lopez of ESPN, Lowry was scheduled to undergo an MRI on the arch of his left foot after turning his ankle early in the Raptors’ win on Sunday. Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca tweets that Lowry had that MRI last night and the team is expected to provide an update on his status at some point on Monday.

The Raptors’ second-round series against Boston is scheduled to get underway this Thursday, so if Lowry’s injury is considered a day-to-day issue, he’ll have some time to get ready for Game 1. The Raptors had no issue beating the Nets without Lowry on Sunday, but will need him back in the lineup to increase their chances of getting past Boston and returning to the Eastern Finals.

[UPDATE: Kyle Lowry Has Ankle Sprain, No Timeline Provided For Return]

Here are more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Rockets guard Russell Westbrook, who is on the shelf with a quad strain, stepped up his workouts on Sunday, but has been ruled out for Game 4 on Monday, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Westbrook did on-court work, including quick stops and starts, yesterday, per Feigen.
  • Aaron Gordon (hamstring) and Michael Carter-Williams (foot) will remain sidelined for the Magic in Game 4 against Milwaukee this afternoon, the team announced (via Twitter). Neither player has been active for a playoff game so far.
  • Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis was set to undergo an MRI on his right knee on Sunday, per head coach Rick Carlisle. As Tim MaMahon of ESPN tweets, Porzingis’ status for Game 5 on Tuesday remains up in the air.
  • Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo is ready to return from his thumb injury, but has been nagged by back spasms in recent days. After being scratched for Game 3, Rondo is listed as doubtful for Game 4 on Monday, per the NBA’s official injury report.

Gordon, Carter-Williams To Miss Game 3

Aaron Gordon and Michael Carter-Williams will miss the Magic’s Game 3 contest against the Bucks on Saturday, Iliana Limón Romero of the Orlando Sentinel writes.

Gordon (strained left hamstring) and Carter-Williams (strained tendon, left foot) have both been sidelined since early August with their respective ailments. As Orlando tries to upset the Bucks, the East’s No. 1 seed, the return of Gordon and Carter-Williams in the series would help matters.

Orlando is hopeful that Gordon, who has been out since Aug. 5,  can return for Game 4.

“He’s doing a lot better. He just wouldn’t be able to get up and down the floor, frankly,” Magic head coach Steve Clifford. “He’s made good progress and he’ll do his work today and tomorrow and then we’re hoping maybe there’s a chance (he can play) by Monday.”

 Meanwhile, Carter-Williams has not played since Aug. 4 and Clifford indicated he’s further behind Gordon in recovery.

“I would say (Carter-Williams) is definitely behind Aaron still,” Clifford. “Mike hasn’t even been able to do more on the floor than just shoot spot-ups. So he’s doing a little bit more, but for sure, Aaron’s closer than Mike is.”

Injury Updates: Dort, Harris, Beverley, Magic, Rondo, Hayward

After initially being ruled out for Game 2 vs. Houston, Thunder wing Luguentz Dort was updated to questionable and is now being considered available, head coach Billy Donovan confirmed today (Twitter link via Royce Young of ESPN). One of Oklahoma City’s top defenders, Dort will look to help slow James Harden.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Nuggets guard Gary Harris will remain sidelined for Game 3 against Utah, but head coach Michael Malone believes Harris is moving in the right direction, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. While he acknowledged that it’d be great to have Harris back during Denver’s first-round series if possible, Malone added that the team doesn’t want to put pressure on him by setting a specific timetable.
  • Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said he doesn’t have a sense of the severity of Patrick Beverley‘s calf injury, which caused him to miss Game 2 vs. Dallas on Wednesday. “Obviously it is something that has lingered,” Rivers said, per Youngmisuk. “But I have no sense whether he plays next game or if this is one of those things that takes a week or so. I just don’t know.” Beverley will likely be a game-time decision on Friday, according to Rivers (Twitter link via Youngmisuk).
  • Aaron Gordon (hamstring) and Michael Carter-Williams (foot) will be on the shelf again for the Magic in Game 2 vs. Milwaukee today, according to the team (Twitter link). Neither player has been active since early August.
  • Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo, who hasn’t played this summer due to a fractured thumb, is listed as questionable for Game 2 vs. Portland on Thursday night, tweets Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times.
  • The Celtics are “aggressively treating” Gordon Hayward‘s ankle sprain, head coach Brad Stevens said on Wednesday (Twitter link). The club should have a better idea within the next few days of what the next steps for Hayward’s rehab will be. The veteran forward is expected to miss about four weeks.

Eastern Notes: Gordon, Heat, Pistons, Knicks

Magic head coach Steve Clifford told reporters on Wednesday that forward Aaron Gordon played 2-on-2 after practice, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Clifford also mentioned that Gordon’s availability for Game 2 against the Bucks will be determined by how his hamstring is feeling on Thursday.

The 24-year-old Gordon missed Game 1 on Tuesday with a left strained hamstring, which he suffered back on August 5. This season, the Magic forward is averaging 14.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 3.7 APG.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra answered questions on Wednesday about the benchings of center Meyers Leonard and rookie point guard Kendrick Nunn. Both players received DNP’s for Monday’s Game 1 against the Pacers. “Everybody’s all in on that, the purpose of what we’re trying to get accomplished here,” Spoelstra said (h/t South Florida Sun-Sentinel). “We’ll need everybody. … It’s something that we talked about as a team. And it’s Game 1 … Obviously, Kendrick is a major part of our team. We will need to get into our depth at some point.” Leonard, who was the team’s starting center, fell out of the rotation when the seeding games begin. Nunn, however, started in five games in the bubble. In those contests, he averaged 10.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG, and 2.0 APG.
  • Pistons head coach Dwane Casey said on Wednesday that he does not expect Derrick Rose or Blake Griffin to participate in the team’s voluntary camp next month, though both players could attend if they want to, per James Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link). However, Casey hopes young players view it as mandatory.
  • Marc Berman of the New York Post writes about the Knicks‘ odds of landing standout point guard LaMelo Ball. According to the Post, Ball’s preference is to go to New York. However, the Knicks only have a 27.6% chance of landing a top-three selection in the 2020 NBA Draft. In fact, New York has a 62.8% chance of getting a pick between 6-10. If that happens, Ball will likely be off the board, and the team could opt to draft former UNC point guard Cole Anthony.

Gordon, Carter-Williams Remain Sidelined For Magic

The Magic will be without a pair of key rotation players when their playoff series with the Bucks opens this afternoon, having announced today that Aaron Gordon (strained left hamstring) and Michael Carter-Williams (strained left foot tendon) are both out (Twitter link).

Gordon, who suffered his hamstring injury on August 5 vs. Toronto, missed Orlando’s last four seeding games. He had initially been listed as questionable, and there’s still optimism that he’ll return at some point during the series, but he won’t play on Tuesday.

As for Carter-Williams, he has been on the shelf since August 4 due to his foot injury. His absence doesn’t come as a surprise, as he was previously listed as doubtful.

The Magic are also missing Jonathan Isaac (torn ACL), Al-Farouq Aminu (knee surgery), and Mohamed Bamba (COVID-19 complications), leaving the East’s No. 8 seed awfully shorthanded in the first game of what could be a brief series against the Bucks, who owned the NBA’s best record in 2019/20.

With Gordon unavailable, Gary Clark will start for the Magic and will get the first crack at guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo, head coach Steve Clifford said today (Twitter link via Josh Robbins of The Athletic). The hope is that Gordon will be able to return for Game 2, Clifford added (Twitter link via Robbins).

Injury Updates: Gordon, Simmons, Butler

Magic forward Aaron Gordon, who left Wednesday’s game due to a left hamstring injury, doesn’t appear to have suffered a serious injury, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Sources tell Charania that tests on the hamstring showed no significant damage, and Gordon is expected to be re-evaluated in “several days.”

Although Gordon’s recovery timeline is unclear, it sounds like he’ll at least miss Friday’s game against Philadelphia. He has been listed as doubtful for that contest, according to the team, which tweets that the forward’s injury is being called a hamstring strain and he’ll be day-to-day after Friday. The Magic’s remaining seeding games are against Boston (Sunday), Brooklyn (Tuesday), and New Orleans (next Thursday).

One more Magic win or one more Wizards loss would secure Orlando a playoff berth, so the team will likely play it safe with Gordon in the hopes of having him back for the start of the postseason. Still, the Magic will be motivated to finish strong, since they’re currently a half-game back of the Nets for the No. 7 seed in the East.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Ben Simmons left the Sixers‘ win over Washington on Wednesday with a left knee injury. According to Shams Charania (via Twitter), an MRI on Simmons’ knee came back clean and he’s considered day-to-day. Philadelphia continues to jockey for positioning in the playoff race but is guaranteed to finish no lower than sixth in the East, so they won’t rush Simmons back.
    [RELATED: Update on Simmons’ knee injury]
  • Jimmy Butler (right foot soreness) is listed as out for the Heat‘s game on Thursday vs. Milwaukee, tweets Eric Woodyard of ESPN. Butler also missed Tuesday’s game, the second of a back-to-back set, but his ailment isn’t believed to be serious.
  • In case you missed it, we passed along word on Wednesday night that Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (calf) will miss Thursday’s game and that Nets guard Jamal Crawford (hamstring) will be sidelined for “a few” games.