Doug McDermott

Spurs’ Doug McDermott Out For Rest Of Season

Spurs forward Doug McDermott will miss the remainder of the season because of a Grade 3 ankle sprain, tweets Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News.

McDermott left Saturday’s game against the Pacers after rolling the ankle in the first quarter. He was ruled out for Monday’s game before the team decided to have him sit out the rest of the season.

McDermott moved into the starting lineup after coming to San Antonio in a sign-and-trade deal with Indiana last summer. He played in 51 games, missing significant time while in the health and safety protocols, and averaged 11.3 points per night while shooting 42.2% from three-point range.

The 30-year-old will earn $13.75MM in each of the next two seasons and will become a free agent in 2024.

Injury Notes: Butler, Hayward, McDermott, Collins

Heat forward Jimmy Butler sprained his right ankle and did not play in the second half of Miami’s win against Detroit on Tuesday, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Butler has already missed six games – three in November and three more in January – due to a right ankle sprain.

He tweaked his ankle. We’ll see how he feels (Wednesday),” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said.

We have more injury-related news:

  • Hornets forward Gordon Hayward said he’s “starting to ramp things up this week,” Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer tweets. The plan is to test his ankle during more basketball activities the rest of the week and begin contact next week. Hayward hasn’t played since February 7 after spraining ligaments in his left ankle.
  • Doug McDermott is expected to miss several games after suffering an ankle sprain, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets“He did it pretty good,” coach Gregg Popovich said of the Spurs forward. “I don’t know…But he will be out for a while.”
  • Hawks head coach Nate McMillan didn’t have much of an update on Wednesday when asked about John Collins‘ status, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. According to McMillan, Collins – who has missed the last two games with a finger injury – is “getting better,” but there’s still no timeline for his return.

Southwest Notes: Bane, McDermott, Murray, Cauley-Stein

Desmond Bane‘s surprising season with the Grizzlies makes him seem like a huge draft-night mistake by the Celtics, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Boston selected Bane with the 30th pick in 2020 and immediately traded him to Memphis for a pair of second-rounders because of luxury tax concerns. Bane has become a full-time starter in his second NBA season and is averaging 17.5 points and 4.5 rebounds through 44 games.

“I never knew it was Boston’s pick,” Bane recalled. “Everything was going on so fast, I had seen (the report) that the Grizzlies draft Desmond Bane at No. 30, so most guys put on the Celtics hat, I had a Grizzlies hat before they even put me on the TV screen. I was Grizzlies all the way.”

Bane has become an ideal backcourt partner for Ja Morant and has helped transform Memphis into a Western Conference contender at 30-15. He believes he should have been drafted higher and uses his status at No. 30 as inspiration.

“I’m always trying to keep the chip on my shoulder throughout all of it, regardless what I’ve done to this point in my career,” he said. “There’s still a lot of room to grow and improve.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Doug McDermott was one of the first Spurs players to enter health and safety protocols and one of the last to be cleared, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. McDermott, who returned to the court Friday, was stuck in a Detroit hotel room for six days, then had to wait even longer after returning home because contagion-level tests showed that he still presented a danger. “It’s a tough way to learn, just having a ball and just myself in the gym,” he said after missing seven games. “It’s hard to simulate the NBA speed of the game.”
  • Spurs guard Dejounte Murray is playing at an All-Star level, but he’s not enjoying it because the team isn’t winning, McDonald adds in a separate story. Murray has averaged 25.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 2.2 steals over the past six games, but San Antonio is just 1-5 during that stretch. “When you lose, it wasn’t enough,” Murray said. “It means zero. I want no credit for losing basketball games.”
  • Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison said it was difficult to tell Willie Cauley-Stein that he was being waived, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Harrison said the team will continue supporting Cauley-Stein through the personal situation that resulted in him not playing since late November.

COVID Updates: Gobert, Gay, McDermott, Unseld Jr., Testing Procedures

The Jazz got some very good news on Friday, as center Rudy Gobert has exited the league’s health and safety protocols, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Utah’s defense has fallen apart without Gobert patrolling the middle. The Jazz’s defensive rating has ballooned to 120.8 in the five games he’s missed and they only won one of those contests. Forward Rudy Gay has also exited the protocols, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. Utah plays its next game on Sunday.

We have more COVID-related news:

  • According to the league’s injury report for this evening’s games, Spurs forward Doug McDermott is no longer in the protocols. McDermott has not played since New Year’s Eve.
  • Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. has entered the protocols, according to a team press release. Pat Delany will assume acting head coaching duties for Saturday’s game against Portland.
  • Hornets big man Kai Jones has cleared the protocols and was eligible to play on Friday, the team tweets.
  • Players who remain unvaccinated or who are eligible for a booster shot will remain under daily surveillance and game day testing through February 17, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Those who are currently ineligible for a booster due to having been more recently vaccinated won’t be under those restrictions, NBA Communications tweets. Those restrictions also won’t apply to league staff members, since they are all fully vaccinated.

Spurs’ Walker, McDermott Enter Protocols; Murray Exits

Spurs guard Lonnie Walker and forward Doug McDermott have entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). Wojnarowski also reports (via Twitter) that star guard Dejounte Murray has cleared the protocols.

Murray, who’s missed the team’s last three games, will begin his reconditioning to play again. No target date has been announced for his return. In 31 games this season, he’s averaged a career-high 17.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game, shooting 44% from the field.

Walker and McDermott have both served in vital roles for San Antonio, averaging 22.5 minutes and 24.6 minutes per game, respectively. Walker has played 30 of his 33 games off the bench, while McDermott has started in all 26 of his games this season.

The Spurs next play in Detroit on Saturday night, the team’s second contest of a seven-game road trip. San Antonio currently ranks 10th in the West at 14-20.

Southwest Notes: Forbes, McDermott, Doncic, Valanciunas

Bryn Forbes has been providing instant offense throughout his career, so he’s comfortable handling that role with the Spurs, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. The latest example came Thursday night when Forbes delivered 16 points in the fourth quarter of a victory at Portland. Forbes didn’t play in the first half, but got an opportunity when Devin Vassell was sidelined by pain in his right quadriceps.

“I’ve been pretty good at doing that my whole career, just getting hot,” Forbes said. “I can make shots. I’m 42 (percent from 3-point range) for my career, so pretty good chance the ball is going in.”

After winning a title with the Bucks last season, Forbes returned to San Antonio, where he played the first four years of his NBA career. His playing time is down this year, but his shooting percentages have remained high — 48.1% from the field and 41.8% from three-point range.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs forward Doug McDermott was back on the court Thursday after missing the previous four games with a sore right knee, McDonald adds. The knee has been a persistent issue that has sidelined him for seven games overall. “It’s a very minor injury, but it was just kind of nagging for a while,” McDermott said. “It’s nothing serious at all. I just wanted to be careful with it.”
  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic underwent an MRI on his left ankle today, tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic, who is being held out of tonight’s game, has been dealing with discomfort since suffering a sprain November 15. “He’s been sore. It’s just been a busy stretch of games,” coach Jason Kidd said.
  • Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas has been improving his three-point shot in recent years, but he’s never had a night like Monday when he went 7-for-7 from beyond the arc in the first half, notes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Some of his teammates started calling him “Dirk Valanciunas” in honor of former Mavericks sharpshooter Dirk Nowitzki. “Everybody wants to be (Dirk). He’s one of the greatest big guys in the game,” said Valanciunas. “But I still gotta work a lot to be like him. I’m just taking what’s out there. If I have an open shot, I’ll take it. If I’m making it, I’ll keep taking it. It’s as simple as that.”

Spurs Notes: Players’ Meeting, Landale, COVID Concerns, Walker

The Spurs held a players-only meeting in the locker room after last Thursday’s 25-point loss to the Timberwolves, forward Thaddeus Young informed Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “We took that butt whooping and we went back into the locker room and we talked for 20, 30 minutes, the whole team,” Young said. “Everyone voiced their issues and their points.”

Second-year lottery pick Devin Vassell was among those who spoke most eloquently.

“He basically said, ‘Come on. Let’s try to figure this thing out. Let’s talk about it. Let’s put everything out there on the table,'” Young said.

Young viewed that as a positive sign for the team building around young players.

“That’s what you want from young guys. I could do it, but at the end of the day, you want these younger guys to start stepping up,” Young said (Twitter links here).

San Antonio had the weekend off and will face Phoenix on Monday.

We have more on the Spurs:

  • Big man Jock Landale has entered the reconditioning phase after being cleared from the league’s health and safety protocols, Orsborn tweets. Landale entered protocols approximately two weeks ago and hasn’t played since November 1.
  • Though the team is fully vaccinated and some have received booster shots, players are wary of contracting the virus and are taking more precautions on the road, forward Doug McDermott told Orsborn. “That (being vaccinated) still doesn’t mean anything because you still see positive tests. I think a good example was in the NFL,” McDermott said. “You are seeing a lot of positive cases there and I think the same will be true of us (in the NBA) around Thanksgiving.”
  • Guard Lonnie Walker IV holds no hard feelings toward Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince, Orsborn writes. Prince was ejected after being issued a Flagrant 2 foul for striking Walker in the chest and face during the second half as Walker drove to the basket. “It was fine,” Walker said. “I’ve gotten hit a lot worse than that. I don’t think it was on purpose. I’m real cool with Prince.”

Southwest Notes: Kevin Porter Jr., Spurs, Hart, Ingram

Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. has developed a unique sensibility in his new role this season as Houston’s starting point guard, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Porter calls his own style “Scoot ball.”

“Basketball today is hardly traditional,” said Porter of his role with the Rockets. “I tried to become a traditional (point guard), but that’s not me at all. I’m ‘Scoot.’ I get a bucket or set my guy up.”

The 6’4″ guard, who was a small forward during his rookie season with the Cavaliers and a shooting guard last year with the Rockets, is averaging 13.3 PPG, 5.2 APG, 4.2 RPG and 1.2 SPG for a tanking Houston club in the second season of a rebuild.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs forward Doug McDermott was well aware of teen rookie shooting guard Joshua Primo years before they were teammates, as Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News details. “I’ve been impressed with him for a long time,” McDermott said. “My dad [Creighton head coach Greg McDermott] recruited him really hard at Creighton. I think it came down to Creighton and Alabama. So I’ve been watching Josh for a long time. I’ve always known he was going to be a hell of a player.” The 18-year-old Primo is currently logging significant minutes with San Antonio’s G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs. “[My college decision] came down to [Creighton] and Alabama,” Primo confirmed. “I went to Alabama, but we still kept in touch.”
  • Pelicans guard Josh Hart appreciates new head coach Willie Green‘s confidence in his shot creation, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “Willie has all the trust in me to go out there and play my game and play with confidence,” Hart said. “I think that’s the biggest thing that we talked about. It wasn’t just standing in the corner and hoping and praying for the ball.”
  • Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram returned to action following a seven-game absence due to a hip contusion, and his activity helped fuel just the second New Orleans victory of the year, a 112-101 defeat of the Grizzlies. William Guillory of The Athletic examines how Ingram’s 19 points helped the Pelicans end their nine-game losing streak. Ingram addressed the calming influence of new head coach Willie Green through a tumultuous start to the club’s 2021/22 season. “(He’s) just keeping guys positive — making sure their heads (are) up, making sure they’re staying confident in everything that they’re doing,” Ingram said. “Our guys have put in the work. He sees that, and he just wants everybody to be successful on the basketball floor.”

Southwest Notes: Kidd, McDermott, House, Williams

New Mavericks coach Jason Kidd used his entire active roster during the first three quarters of Tuesday’s game, writes Tim Cato of the Athletic. All 15 players saw time on the court, which is a rarity in a league where rotations typically involve nine or 10 players unless the game has already been decided.

Kidd said the idea of playing everybody was developed by the team’s leadership council, which is made up of Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. They offered the suggestion Tuesday during their first official meeting with their coach in that capacity.

“It’s a cool thing, because we always talk about (players who are) 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 (on the roster) as part of the team and they tend to not get to play,” Kidd said. “The matrix was in a twist, but we figured it out.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • An MRI on Doug McDermott‘s right knee was negative, but the Spurs expect him to miss their upcoming three-game road trip, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. The knee swelled up after he hurt it in Tuesday’s game. He’s projected to return to the court November 3.
  • Rockets forward Danuel House suffered a sprained right foot Tuesday night, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. House landed awkwardly after saving a loose ball from going out of bounds and was visibly limping after the play. X-rays were negative, but he wore a walking boot when he returned to the bench later in the game.
  • LeBron James said it was a “weird dynamic” to play against Grizzlies rookie Ziaire Williams, who was his son’s high school teammate two years ago, per Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. It was a big deal for Williams as well to be on the same court with “Uncle LeBron,” who was in the crowd for a lot of those high school games. “It was fun to see a different side of him,” Williams said. “He’s always fun and joking around with us at Sierra Canyon watching games so it was cool to see him in his element when things are serious.”

Western Notes: Nuggets, McDermott, Green, Pelicans, Wolves

The Nuggets have debuted a new “Defensive Player of the Game” chain, something head coach Michael Malone hopes will inspire his team throughout the season, as relayed by Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports (Twitter links).

Will Barton was awarded the chain after the team’s win over Phoenix on Wednesday, while Nikola Jokic received it after the club’s victory against San Antonio on Friday. Denver held both teams to under 100 points.

“For us, we want to be a better defensive team,” Malone said. “So maybe having a Defensive Player of the Game, necklace, if you will, maybe that motivates some guys.”

The Nuggets finished 47-25 last season behind an MVP campaign from Jokic, but defending has long been an issue for the team. Jokic, for his part, appears to be setting the tone early about the team’s need to commit defensively.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Spurs wing Doug McDermott is proving that he’s one of the top shooters in the world, Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News writes. McDermott has made 10-of-18 threes (56%) in his first three games, displaying his value as a floor-spacer in San Antonio. He signed a three-year, $42MM deal to join the franchise this past summer.
  • Will Guillory of The Athletic examines whether Pelicans coach Willie Green can find a way to fix the team’s issues. New Orleans has opened the season with a 0-3 record in Green’s first campaign. The club has upcoming home games scheduled against the Hawks on Wednesday and Kings on Friday.
  • The Timberwolves are trying to establish a new identity this season, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes“When you’re building an identity, obviously we don’t have one, to be very fairly honest in the NBA,” Karl-Anthony Towns said, “but if you want to build one, it’s going to take some time where you’re going to have to play your game even when people don’t understand how we’re playing. You try to be physical defensively, especially, so if we’re going to get a little foul here and there over physicality and building our identity and our culture, then that has to be what it is.” Minnesota struggled last season largely due to injuries, but the team is 2-0 to start the season.