Michael Carter-Williams

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.

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).

Mo Bamba Leaves NBA Campus, Out For Season

Magic center Mohamed Bamba has left the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus, the team said today (Twitter link). According to the Magic, Bamba is undergoing a “comprehensive post-coronavirus evaluation” on the advice of team doctors and performance staffers.

Bamba has been ruled out for the rest of the season, per the Magic.

Josh Robbins of The Athletic reported last week that Bamba contracted COVID-19 in June and that his recovery from the virus had been a slow process. The illness led to fatigue and muscle soreness and temporarily removed Bamba’s senses of smell and taste, according to Robbins. He has barely played at all this summer due to conditioning issues, last appearing in a game on August 2.

The former No. 6 overall pick spoke last week about wanting to continue working to get back to 100% and being ready to play when called upon. However, it appears the Magic determined that it’s in Bamba’s best interest to shut things down for the 2019/20 season and focus on getting healthy for next year.

Bamba, 22, appeared in 62 games during his second NBA season, averaging 5.4 PPG and 4.9 RPG in 14.2 minutes per contest as a backup behind starting center Nikola Vucevic. He’s under contract for $5.97MM next season, with a $7.57MM team option for 2021/22.

Bamba is the second Magic player who has been ruled out for the season since the restart began, as Jonathan Isaac tore his ACL earlier this month. The club has also been missing Aaron Gordon (hamstring) and Michael Carter-Williams (foot), who was said to be in a walking boot on Thursday. Additionally, Al-Farouq Aminu didn’t travel to Disney World with the team as he continues to recover from knee surgery.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Beverley, Dragic, MCW, Nuggets, More

Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley left Tuesday’s game against Phoenix in the first quarter with a left calf injury and didn’t return, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN details. The injury isn’t considered serious, but Doc Rivers suggested after the game that the team will play it safe, with the postseason not scheduled to begin until August 17.

“I don’t think it’s bad,” the Clippers’ head coach said. “We’re going to be very cautious, I can tell you that.”

Beverley’s injury occurred just as Lou Williams returned to action for the Clippers following his 10-day quarantine period. If Beverley is able to get back on the court soon and Montrezl Harrell reports to the team within the next week or so, L.A. should be back at full strength before the playoffs get underway.

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

  • Heat guard Goran Dragic suffered a slight ankle sprain near the end of Tuesday’s win over Boston, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who tweets that X-rays on the ankle came back negative.
  • Magic guard Michael Carter-Williams, who left Tuesday’s game with a sore left foot, has been diagnosed with a tendon strain after undergoing an MRI, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Carter-Williams is doubtful to play on Wednesday vs. Toronto.
  • The Nuggets will once again be without Gary Harris (hip) and Will Barton (knee) on Wednesday, but the team has upgraded Jamal Murray (hamstring) to questionable (Twitter link). Denver is in action again on Thursday, so it won’t be a surprise if Murray ends up playing one half of the back-to-back set.
    [UPDATE: Murray was ruled out for Wednesday’s game]
  • Speaking of back-to-backs, the Heat held Jimmy Butler (right ankle soreness) out of the second leg of a back-to-back set on Tuesday, while the Celtics are doing the same with Kemba Walker on Wednesday (Twitter link). Both teams are likely just playing it safe with their All-Stars.

California Notes: MCW, Clippers, Kings, Smith, Waiters

The Warriors will need to consider free agent backup point guard candidates during their upcoming offseason. Since Golden State will be stretched thin due to some exorbitant contracts to the team’s top four players, The Athletic’s Anthony Slater makes the case for 28-year-old injury-prone non-shooter Michael Carter-Williams, an unrestricted free agent, on a league minimum.

Carter-Williams, a career 40.3% shooter from the floor (and a 25.6% shooter from deep), has logged time with the Sixers, Bucks, Bulls, Hornets, Rockets and Magic in his seven NBA seasons. Slater lauds the 6’5″ guard’s size and notes that his three-point shooting has improved with Orlando, adding that he was a +27 in his time on the floor during the Magic’s three road games, all wins, before the NBA season pause on March 11. For 2019/20, Carter-Williams is shooting a below-average 29.4% from long range, which would be his career-high over a full season.

There are more updates out of California:

  • The Clippers are using their practices in the NBA’s Disney World campus to fully integrate recent additions Marcus Morris, Reggie Jackson and Joakim Noah, per Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register. “It’s pretty much we know who we want to play, but as far as the rotations and the minutes, I think that’s still a little bit in flux,” head coach Doc Rivers noted. “We’ll see. You kind of decide on what you’re going to do going by how you’re practicing.”
  • With several Kings players currently unavailable, rookies Justin James, Kyle Guy and DaQuan Jeffries will be able to use team practices and scrimmages in Disney World as an opportunity to prove their mettle, according to The Athletic’s Jason Jones. Sacramento head coach Luke Walton noted that the young players are “getting crucial reps in practice and most likely, at least in the preseason (scrimmage) games, they’ll be getting some meaningful minutes as well.”
  • Newly-minted Lakers wings J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters have been using their Orlando campus tenure to bond with their L.A. teammates, per Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Head coach Frank Vogel commended the team’s new backcourt additions with helping to stoke everyone’s competitive fire. “They both bring toughness and swag — those guys are killers,” Vogel said. “They go after it with great competitive spirit and they have the talent to back it up and be highly productive on the court.”

Central Notes: Oladipo, Respert, Cavs, Pistons

After reporting earlier this week that the Pacers aren’t considering the possibility of shopping Victor Oladipo and that the veteran guard isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star digs a little further into the subject.

A source tells The Star that Oladipo “loves” Indiana, and Michael notes that the two-time All-Star has a good, “open-door” relationship with Pacers executives Kevin Pritchard and Chad Buchanan.

According to Michael, the Pacers have made it clear they’re willing to give Oladipo a maximum-salary contract once his current deal ends in 2021, assuming that’s his market value. The 28-year-old hasn’t fully regained his All-Star form since returning from a serious leg injury, but is willing to roll the dice that he can get there.

Doing so would put him in line to earn a long-term max deal in ’21 rather than settling for an early extension that wouldn’t be as lucrative or as lengthy, due to CBA restrictions — Oladipo is seeking as much security as possible on his next contract, says Michael.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Bulls director of player development Shawn Respert, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the season, won’t be retained beyond 2019/20, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Interestingly, Johnson says that decision was made by Jim Boylen, who remains the Bulls’ head coach for now as he continues to be evaluated by the team’s new basketball operations decision-makers.
  • The Cavaliers are unlikely to have any cap room this offseason, but could still be a minor player in free agency, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who speculates in his latest mailbag that Derrick Jones, Michael Carter-Williams, Josh Jackson, and Harry Giles could be among Cleveland’s targets.
  • While February’s Andre Drummond trade will help ensure the Cavs don’t have cap room this offseason, moving Drummond’s contract should allow the Pistons to create upwards of $30-35MM in space, depending on where exactly the cap lands. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic explores which players Detroit could look at if the team decides to trade for unwanted contracts rather than using its room on free agents.

Lowe’s Latest: McDermott, Finney-Smith, Wood, MCW

Each year, Zach Lowe of ESPN names his “Luke Walton All-Stars,” a group of players who appeared to be borderline NBA players until finding a role – and a team – that suits them. This year’s installment of Lowe’s Luke Walton All-Stars serves as a handful of mini-profiles on his choices and features a number of fascinating tidbits on those players.

For instance, according to Lowe, Doug McDermott – who has been traded four times since being drafted in 2014 – has gotten into the habit of donating clothes to Goodwill as the annual trade deadline approaches to make packing easier in case he gets moved again.

As Lowe details, McDermott was worried a trade to Dallas in February 2018 might be his “last chance” in the NBA, but the sharpshooter credits Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle for helping him play loose and urging him to not hesitate to launch three-pointers. The Mavs wanted to re-sign McDermott in 2018 but didn’t have the cap flexibility to do so, and Carlisle encouraged him to take the Pacers‘ three-year, $22MM offer, Lowe adds.

Lowe’s story is worth checking out in full, but here are a few of the highlights from the piece:

  • The Mavericks had to beat out the Heat and Pelicans to sign Dorian Finney-Smith as an undrafted free agent in 2016, per Lowe. The three-year deal with a $100K guarantee was “probably more than the Mavs wanted to offer,” since Finney-Smith seemed at the time like a long shot to make the regular season roster, but it turned into a great investment.
  • Despite a history of productivity, Pistons big man Christian Wood bounced around the NBA due to reputational concerns, including a perception that he was an unreliable communicator, according to Lowe, who says there was gossip around the NBA about Wood splurging on a Bentley after banking “very little” NBA money. “There is stuff in my background that affected my reputation,” Wood said. “It was never basketball-related.”
  • Earlier in his career, Marquese Chriss was insistent about his preference to play power forward, but the Warriors‘ big man now admits it’s not his ideal position, per Lowe. “I was naive,” Chriss said. “I realize now the skill set I have is better for (center).”
  • Former Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams has now adjusted to a much more modest role with the Magic, in which he focuses on playing lockdown defense and “hitting singles” (rather than swinging for the fences) on offense, according to Lowe. “It wasn’t easy,” Carter-Williams said. “I still believe I can do more. But this is part of maturing. Maybe one day I’ll get a bigger role and do what I did in Philadelphia. Maybe I won’t. Either way, I’m happy I’m playing.”

Injury Updates: LeBron, AD, Doncic, Hayward, Gordon

A handful of the NBA’s Christmas Day games have lost some of their luster due to injuries, but that shouldn’t be the case for the league’s marquee December 25 matchup. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin, Lakers stars LeBron James (groin) and Anthony Davis (knee) went through an impromptu practice today and are expected to play on Wednesday vs. the Clippers. James and Davis had been listed as questionable.

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

  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic was a full participant in practice today, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Doncic’s status for Thursday’s game remains up in the air, but “things are looking better and better,” according to head coach Rick Carlisle.
  • As expected, Celtics forward Gordon Hayward has been listed as probable for the team’s Christmas Day game vs. Toronto. Hayward, who has missed 16 of Boston’s last 19 games, said today that he has been dealing with a nerve issue in his foot, which he believes is related to his ankle injury from two years ago. He has received three cortisone shots and feels “a lot better” after the most recent one, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston relays.
  • Rockets guard Eric Gordon, out since November 11 with a knee injury, may be targeting Sunday’s game for his return, says Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Feigen also explores the ripple effect that Gordon’s return will have on Houston’s rotation.
  • Magic guard Michael Carter-Williams has made good progress in his recovery from a shoulder injury and is hopeful he won’t miss much time, writes John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com.