Jalen Brunson

Injury Updates: Randle, Clippers, Sixers, Wolves, Blazers

The Knicks received both good and bad news on Wednesday night versus Miami. The good news is point guard Jalen Brunson was able to play after missing the past two games with a sprained right hand, and the Knicks came away with an important victory (Twitter link via the team).

The bad news is power forward Julius Randle sprained his left ankle after landing on Bam Adebayo‘s foot following an offensive rebound (YouTube link), with Randle remaining on the floor for a while in pain. He stayed in the game to shoot free throws, but headed back to the locker room with a trainer.

Randle was able to limp off the floor on his own, but as soon as he was back in the team’s tunnel he was bent over in discomfort. The Knicks later ruled him out for the remainder of the contest (via Twitter).

Hopefully the injury isn’t severe, particularly so late in the season. Randle has appeared in all 77 games for the Knicks and was named to his second All-Star team last month.

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

  • Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was ruled out of Wednesday’s game in Memphis due to personal reasons, per Law Murray of The Athletic (Twitter links). Head coach Tyronn Lue said the team is hopeful Leonard will only be out one game. On a positive note, Norman Powell was able to return to action after missing the past 11 games with a shoulder injury — he was previously listed as questionable.
  • Sixers stars Joel Embiid (calf soreness) and James Harden (Achilles soreness) were active for Wednesday’s game vs. Dallas, tweets Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was the first to report the news (via Twitter). Embiid missed Monday’s loss in Denver with the injury, while Harden had missed four straight games.
  • The Timberwolves had several late additions to their injury report (Twitter link) ahead of tonight’s game in Phoenix. Kyle Anderson, Anthony Edwards, Taurean Prince, Austin Rivers and Matt Ryan are all dealing with an illness that head coach Chris Finch described as an “intestinal flu,” according to Chis Hine of The Star Tribune (Twitter link). Edwards and Anderson were able to suit up, but the Wolves later ruled out (via Twitter) the other three players as well as Jaylen Nowell, who continues to battle left knee tendinopathy.
  • In addition to four starters being held out with various injuries and surgeries sidelining a couple other players, the Trail Blazers added three young players to Wednesday’s injury report ahead of their matchup with Sacramento (Twitter link). Second-year guard Keon Johnson is out with a fractured right finger, while second-year big man Trendon Watford will miss his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. Fourth-year wing Cam Reddish is doubtful due to lumbar soreness.

Injury Notes: Brunson, Bulls, Cavaliers, KAT, Grizzlies

Knicks starting point guard Jalen Brunson will miss his second straight game on Monday with a sprained right hand, the team has announced (Twitter link).

The 6’1″ Brunson is enjoying a career season with his new club. Across 65 healthy games, he’s averaging 23.8 PPG on .489/.411/.833 shooting. The 26-year-old is also averaging 6.2 APG, 3.6 RPG and 0.9 SPG for New York.

Reserve guard Derrick Rose, who has been out of the rotation since the calendar rolled over to 2023, will also be inactive for this evening’s bout against the Rockets due to an illness, the Knicks add.

Here are some more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Bulls forward Javonte Green, who continues to recover from a January knee surgery after making a brief return to the lineup last week, will be out tonight against the Clippers, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). Johnson adds that veteran Chicago guard Alex Caruso is considered questionable to play.
  • Several Cavaliers players comprise the club’s injury report ahead of the team’s game Tuesday against the Hawks, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter links). Starting center Jarrett Allen is questionable with a groin strain, while starting small forward Isaac Okoro is also questionable due to a sore knee. Swingman Danny Green and point guard Raul Neto will not play. Wing Dean Wade is doubtful to play through an illness. Isaiah Mobley, Sam Merrill and Dylan Windler are all going to be working with Cleveland’s NBAGL affiliate, the Cleveland Charge.
  • Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns will sit out tonight’s game against the Kings as he manages his right calf strain injury on the second night of a back-to-back, the team has announced (Twitter link). Two-way player Matt Ryan is out with an illness. All-Star shooting guard Anthony Edwards is questionable due to a sprained right ankle. Guard Jaylen Nowell is also questionable with a left knee tendinopathy.
  • At least five Grizzlies players will be shelved for Tuesday’s contest against the Magic, Memphis has announced (via Twitter). Beyond Brandon Clarke, who’s out for the year with a left Achilles tear, Ziaire Williams, Vince Williams, Jake LaRavia and Steven Adams are all also sidelined. All-Star point guard Ja Morant is considered doubtful to play due to a sore right thigh.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Anunoby, Knicks Draft, Brunson

Joel Embiid is listed as questionable as the Sixers square off against the Nuggets on Monday in a battle of MVP candidates. Embiid said that if he plays, he won’t be focused on his individual matchup with Nikola Jokic, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

“These types of matchups, whether it’s against (Giannis Antetokounmpo) whether it’s against him, it’s cool and all,” Embiid said, “but at the end of the day, it’s always about Milwaukee against Philly or Denver against Philly. (Individual matchups) is not where the focus should be. The focus is on making sure everything is running right for later on (during the playoffs).”

If he does play, Embiid says he’ll need a night off soon to rest his sore calf, Pompey tweets.

“I’ve been playing a lot of minutes, I’ve been playing every single game.” Embiid said. “So to add to that, dealing with the calf and whatever the foot, I think at some point you gotta look at the bigger picture, which is the playoffs, obviously.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • OG Anunoby was a prominent trade candidate before February’s deadline but the Raptors were glad to have him on Sunday. He poured in 29 points in a pivotal victory over the Wizards, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. “I think that almost all the time he catches and shoots, it’s a good shot — even if he’s pretty covered, especially in the corner,” coach Nick Nurse said. “He’s a really high-percentage, high-contest corner three shooter. He had a couple of mid-rangers off the catch, too — which, again, I like. He was feeling it, obviously. I think when guys are feeling it, you want them to get to wherever they can get to and let it go, so I think that’s what was going on (Sunday).”
  • The Knicks could benefit from the Mavericks’ misery, Jared Schwartz of the New York Post notes. Dallas owes New York a first-round pick, though it’s top-10 protected. Dallas is currently 11th in the Western Conference after losing its last four games. The first-rounder also has protections for 2024 and 2025, and if it does not convey within those three years, the Knicks would receive a second-round pick.
  • Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson practiced on Sunday and is listed as questionable to play Monday against Houston after missing Thursday’s game against Orlando due to a sprained right wrist, according to Dan Martin of the New York Post. Coach Tom Thibodeau said Brunson “did everything in practice” on Sunday and the team will reevaluate him before the game.

Mavs Notes: Slump, Doncic, Brunson, Protest

Dallas’ recent slide down the standings went from bad to worse on Friday night as the Mavericks dropped a game to the lowly Hornets and were met with loud boos from their home fans in the third quarter when they fell behind by 18 points, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Most of the Mavericks’ recent losses have come with at least one of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving unavailable, but both stars played on Friday as the club fell out of the top 10 in the Western Conference. The 36-38 Mavs now hold the No. 11 spot, putting them at least temporarily out of the play-in picture in the West.

According to ESPN, Dallas entered the game as a 16-point favorite, which made the eight-point Hornets victory the biggest upset of the NBA season so far. Head coach Jason Kidd described his team’s effort as “dog s–t” and said the Mavs probably should have been booed in the first quarter rather than the third, per MacMahon.

“The interest level wasn’t high,” Kidd said. “It was just disappointing.”

Here’s more on the struggling Mavs:

  • Doncic said after Friday’s game that he’s as frustrated now as he has been at any point since entering the NBA, MacMahon relays. “I think you can see it with me on the court,” Doncic said. “Sometimes I don’t feel it’s me. I’m just being out there. I used to have really fun, smiling on court, but it’s just been so frustrating for a lot of reasons, not just basketball.” Asked to clarify his “not just basketball” comment, the All-NBA guard cited issues in his personal life, MacMahon adds.
  • In an interview with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, Knicks guard Jalen Brunson expressed some regrets about the way his final year in Dallas played out, noting that he expected to be a Maverick for a long time and wishes things “would’ve happened differently.”
  • According to Haynes, Brunson would have been willing to sign the same four-year, $55.6MM extension that Dorian Finney-Smith got from Dallas if the team had offered it prior to the 2021/22 season instead of waiting until after the 2022 trade deadline. “There were two times that I thought we had offers on the table before the season, and then around, I think December or January, they looked the other way,” Brunson said. “They had every right in the world to do so. I don’t blame them for making any business decisions. That’s on them.”
  • The Mavericks officially submitted the paperwork and paid the $10K fee to formally protest Wednesday’s loss to the Warriors, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up (YouTube video link), Brian Windhorst explained why the Mavs shouldn’t count on the protest being successful.

Knicks Notes: Trade Chips, Brunson, Randle, Quickley

Given their excess of future first-round picks, the Knicks have long been viewed as a good candidate to make a trade for a star player — they seemingly got close last summer when they pursued Donovan Mitchell. In a recent Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suggested that the team could be even more ambitious heading into the 2023 offseason.

“Here’s what I think about the Knicks,” Windhorst said (hat tip to RealGM). “They have two handfuls of trade material, in my opinion. They can make, in my opinion, two big trades if they had to coming into this summer. They have the expiring contract of Evan Fournier, which can act as ballast in a trade. They have a bunch of younger players that people are interested in. And they have something like nine tradable first round picks.

“In my view, they can trade for two star-level players if they needed to. … In my opinion, they can hold Jalen Brunson, they can hold Julius Randle, and they can make two giant trades. Now, whether they can hold Brunson, Randle AND (RJ) Barrett and make two giant trades, that would depend on the players. But there is even a window that they can hold all three of those and make two giant trades.”

Windhorst went on to offer some caveats. He believes that a star (or two) may have to explicitly seek a move to New York in order for the Knicks to realistically be able to use their assets to land two impact players. He also acknowledged that, as well positioned as the Knicks are to pursue a blockbuster deal or two, actually making those deals won’t be easy.

“Leon Rose has put them in position,” Windhorst said. “Getting into position is not the hard part. Executing is the hard part. But he’s put them in position.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Three games after returning from a foot injury, Jalen Brunson was out again on Thursday in Orlando due to a right hand sprain, notes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Following the Knicks’ loss to the Magic, Brunson appeared to be sporting a hard plastic brace on his hand. “I think he’ll be evaluated when we get back (to New York), so we’ll see where he is,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said.
  • An All-NBA second-teamer in 2021, Julius Randle had a down year in 2022 but now once again looks like a legitimate All-NBA candidate, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. Katz polled 39 media members on their All-NBA picks and found that Randle received the fourth-most votes among forwards, behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, and Jimmy Butler. As Katz observes, Randle could benefit from superstars like Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard missing significant time due to injuries.
  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports spoke to Sixth Man of the Year candidate Immanuel Quickley about the strides he has made on both sides of the court during his third NBA season. Quickley will be eligible for a rookie scale extension beginning in July.
  • Randle received a technical foul for yelling at official Leon Wood at the end of the first half of Thursday’s loss. Quickley, who tried to calm down Randle, ended up nose-to-nose with his teammate as the two exchanged words (Twitter video link), but downplayed the altercation after the game, Botte writes for The New York Post. “Honestly, everybody’s trying to win. Heat of the moment. That’s basically what it is,” Quickley said. “We all want to win. We’re all trying to get dubs.”

Knicks Notes: Hart, Brunson, Hartenstein, Randle

Josh Hart is hoping he’s not just a rental with the Knicks, as he told Marc J. Spears of Andscape.

Hart, who plans to decline his $12.96MM option for next season, said he wants to sign a long-term deal and remain in New York. Family reasons are a major reason why he feels that way, since he and his wife Shannon are more comfortable on the East Coast than they were in the Pacific Northwest when he played for Portland.

“I want bigger things for my wife and myself,” said Hart, who grew up in Maryland. “Just find a home somewhere where we are valued and really like living there. And I think that can be New York. I would love for it to be New York and hopefully the organization feels the same way. Coming up, this contract is hopefully my biggest one, one where I’m making sure my family’s fully taken care of. So, I’ve also got to take that into account, too.”

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Speaking of Hart, he’s thrilled to be reunited with his former college teammate Jalen Brunson. He’s greatly impressed by how Brunson has made himself into an All-Star caliber player, he told Ethan Sears of the New York Post. “It’s really dope for me to see, obviously, knowing him since 2013, watching his progression, watching him grow just as a friend,” Hart said. “It’s amazing cause I’ve seen the work behind the scenes. And he knows this, and I have the most respect for him as almost any NBA guy or basketball player in general because he continues to grind, continues to work.”
  • Isaiah Hartenstein signed a two-year contract to join the club as a free agent and he’s getting steady minutes. His impact goes beyond the numbers on the stat sheet, Sears notes. “Whether he scores 10 points, 15 points, he rebounds, he defends, gets his hands on plays and deflections and stuff like that,” Julius Randle said. “Sets screens, really good screens. He just does a lot of little things for us that help us win.” Hartenstein is averaging 4.8 points and 6.7 rebounds in 19.6 minutes per night.
  • Coach Tom Thibodeau lamented that the team couldn’t take advantage of Randle’s career night on Monday, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. He poured in 57 points, the most by a Knicks player since Carmelo Anthony scored 62 points in January 2014, but the Knicks’ defense went AWOL in a 140-134 loss to Minnesota. “It’s a shame to waste a performance like that,” Thibodeau said. “You couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Brunson, Robinson, Stoudamire

Even after emerging as the new betting favorite to win this season’s MVP award, Sixers center Joel Embiid believes he can still take his game to another level this spring, as he tells Spencer Davies of BasketballNews.com.

“I don’t think I’m at my best yet. I think I’m trending towards that. I think I’ve got a lot more to give,” Embiid said. “Defensively, I’m getting there. I’m getting back to myself. Usually, I take another step in the playoffs.”

Embiid’s eye-popping numbers this season include a league-leading 33.5 points per game on .546/.355/.855 shooting. The Sixers have a plus-8.8 net rating when he’s on the court, compared to a minus-0.1 mark when he’s off it.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson, who missed five of the team’s last six games due to what he described as a bone bruise in his left foot, didn’t miss a beat in his return to action on Saturday, scoring 24 points to lead the team to a comeback win over Denver, writes Ethan Sears of The New York Post.
  • Following Saturday’s win, Knicks center Mitchell Robinson wasn’t interested in talking about the Snapchat posts he made on Tuesday griping about his role, telling reporters that he’s “moving forward.” As Sears relays for The Post, Robinson explained on Instagram on Friday that his outburst was related to off-court family issues, and his teammates seemed unbothered by his Snapchat content. “We’re all brothers, so we kinda even joked about it on the plane a little bit,” Immanuel Quickley said. “Mitch, he’s a great guy off the floor. Obviously I think everybody knows that. He’s like, a character. He can be funny and outgoing a little bit. “So we understand who Mitch is and we told him, any time we can help you get the ball a little bit more, we’re gonna try to do that.”
  • Speaking to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Damon Stoudamire said it wasn’t easy to leave his position as a Celtics assistant as the season enters the home stretch and that he has “nothing but great memories” of his time in Boston. However, he felt he couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to become Georgia Tech’s new head coach. “I think this is an opportunity for me to just see where I stand,” Stoudamire said. “I always want an opportunity on this stage to test who I am, not only as a coach, but test my character, perseverance, and toughness.”

New York Notes: Robinson, Brunson, Nets’ Small Ball, Simmons

After Mitchell Robinson vented about his role on social media, coach Tom Thibodeau and guard Jalen Brunson spoke to the Knicks center privately, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic.

Another of the Knicks’ big men — Isaiah Hartenstein — said Robinson hasn’t allowed his frustration to seep into the locker room and onto the court. “It’s not like he’s coming into practice b—-ing,” Hartenstein said. “He’s always there. He’s always interactive. He’s always been a good teammate.”

We have more on the New York teams:

  • Speaking of Brunson, he hasn’t played since March 9 due to what the team describes as a sore left foot. However, Brunson himself calls it a bone bruise, Katz tweets. Brunson went through a full practice on Friday and is listed as questionable against Denver on Saturday.
  • The Nets have gotten stellar results from their small lineup, Brian Lewis of the New York Post notes. Lacking a backup big, Dorian Finney-Smith has been playing center with Royce O’Neale at power forward when Nic Claxton rests. That small-ball unit has produced a plus-13.5 net rating. “It allows us to fly around,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “If you don’t cover for each other, we’ll get punished: We’ll get punished on the glass, we’ll get punished just by overall strength and the size of dudes that you have to guard. So (you’ve seen) us fly around, cover for each other, really have a tight shell and be in the right spots.”
  • Klutch Sports negotiated Ben Simmons‘ five-year, $177MM extension in 2019 before he was traded to the Nets. Now, the agency and Simmons are parting ways, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets. The enigmatic Simmons is expected to hire veteran agent Bernie Lee, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets. Simmons hasn’t played since Feb. 15 due to a knee injury.

New York Notes: Brunson, Hartenstein, Nets’ Defense, O’Neale

Jalen Brunson seems likely to miss the Knicks’ game on Tuesday in Portland. He was spotting wearing a walking boot on Sunday night, according to Peter Botte of the New York Post.

“Just continue to do his treatments and we’ll see where he is. When he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go,” coach Tom Thibodeau said of the Knicks’ star guard. “It’s not Jalen by himself. It’s Jalen with the medical. So he’s got a say in it, but the medical has to clear him. So there’s a number of people involved in a decision. We’re not going to put him in harm’s way.”

Brunson said the boot isn’t as ominous as it might appear. He wore it during the Lakers game as a protective measure in case it got kicked or stepped on and isn’t wearing it away from the court, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets.

We have more from the New York teams:

  • Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein earned a $350K bonus by hitting his minutes requirement for the season, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. He needed to play at least 1,350 minutes to earn the bonus and surpassed that in the win over the Lakers. Hartenstein reached another $350K bonus threshold with the Knicks winning their 40th game on Sunday, New York Basketball tweets. He can collect one more $350K bonus in his contract if the Knicks make the playoffs.
  • The Nets have won five of their last six games, thanks to an improved defense, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. “We had to challenge that group to shift the mentality of not thinking you have to score but to first of all let’s be a defensive-oriented team,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “I think we’ve responded, started to form an identity with this group and hopefully they realize that.”
  • In another Lewis story, The Post’s beat writer notes that Royce O’Neale has exceeded the franchise’s expectations after acquiring him from Utah. He’s averaging career highs in points (9.0) and assists (3.7) per game while playing superior defense. “Whether I’m starting or coming off the bench, no matter how many minutes I’m playing, I’m going to play as hard as I can, do things that I got to do for us to win the game, and just be myself,” O’Neale said. His $9.5MM contract for next season is partially guaranteed for $2.5MM.

Injury Notes: Brunson, Wagner, Zeller, Mathurin, Kuminga, Duren

X-rays on Jalen Brunson‘s sore left foot were negative, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters before Saturday’s game that Brunson is feeling “a little better” and is considered day-to-day. He added that the injury has officially been diagnosed as a bruise.

“When he’s healthy enough, he goes,” Thibodeau said. “So just do the rehab, talk to the medical people and when he gets cleared, he’s cleared and then he’ll play.”

Brunson has missed three of the team’s last four games, playing just 19 minutes Thursday in Sacramento. The Knicks have now dropped three in a row, and it’s uncertain if Brunson will be available as their road trip continues Sunday against the Lakers and Tuesday vs. the Trail Blazers.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • X-rays on Magic forward Franz Wagner were negative after he left Saturday’s game with a right ankle injury, tweets Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Wagner has been diagnosed with an ankle sprain.
  • Heat center Cody Zeller left the same game with a broken nose after a collision with Orlando’s Jalen Suggs in the first quarter, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami was already missing Caleb Martin, who sat out the game with knee soreness, and Duncan Robinson, who was placed in health and safety protocols.
  • Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin sat out Saturday after spraining his ankle this week and has already been ruled out of Monday’s game, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Coach Rick Carlisle said Tyrese Haliburton, Myles Turner and T.J. McConnell will also be held out Monday.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Jonathan Kuminga is considered day-to-day after spraining his ankle during warmups on Thursday, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Kuminga didn’t play Saturday, but he was on the team’s bench without a walking boot, Slater adds (Twitter link).
  • Pistons rookie center Jalen Duren feels fully recovered from the bilateral ankle soreness that caused him to miss six games, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. “Just being out a couple weeks, I was itching to get back and trying to play and finish out the season strong,” Duren said. “I’ve been working, I don’t know if y’all can tell but I got a little bigger. I feel good.”