Monte Morris

Injury Notes: Durant, Doncic, Ingram, Fox, Morris

Kevin Durant missed what was supposed to be his first home game with the Suns after turning his left ankle during warmups Wednesday night, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Durant was taking part in an individual drill with coaches when he slipped on the floor as he started to shoot (video link from Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). He landed on the court, but was able to get up and finish his workout, Windhorst adds.

Shortly afterward, the Suns announced that he would miss the game due to ankle soreness. Durant, who returned seven days ago after missing six weeks with an MCL sprain, reported some swelling in the ankle after the incident. He was in a walking boot after the game, Rankin tweets.

“We’ll get more testing done tomorrow,” coach Monty Williams said, “but right now it’s just an ankle sprain and we don’t have anything official to report.” (Twitter link from Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports)

Durant has played just three games for Phoenix since being acquired from the Nets in a blockbuster trade last month. He’s averaging 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists while shooting 69% from the field and 53.8% from three-point range.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic plans to get an MRI on Thursday after leaving tonight’s game with a left thigh strain, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Doncic was favoring his left leg as he walked into a post-game media session and replied “not good” when reporters asked how he felt, Lopez adds. Doncic said he has been dealing with pain in the thigh for about a week, according to Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “I think we all can see he’s not moving well, so shooting, defensive, it’s affecting everything,” coach Jason Kidd said. “He’s trying to fight through it and help his teammates, but he had to leave.”
  • In the same game, the Pelicans lost Brandon Ingram to a right ankle sprain late in the first half, tweets Christian Clark of NOLA. Ingram later returned to the team’s bench in street clothes. He missed two months of the season with a toe injury before returning in late January.
  • Kings guard De’Aaron Fox sat out Monday’s game with a sore left hamstring, but he expects to be ready for Thursday, tweets Sean Cunningham of KTXL. Fox is also experiencing wrist pain, but he plans to play through it.
  • Monte Morris played tonight after missing the Wizards‘ last six games with lower back soreness, per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link).

Wizards’ Monte Morris Week-To-Week With Back Soreness

Starting point guard Monte Morris received an epidural injection on Wednesday to combat the lower back soreness he’s been experiencing, the Wizards announced in a press release. He had missed the previous two games with the injury and is considered week-to-week going forward, per the team.

In response to the announcement, Morris sent out a tweet saying “Be back soon” with a fingers crossed emoji.

Morris, 27, was selected by Denver with the 51st overall pick of the 2017 draft after four years at Iowa State. He spent his first season on a two-way contract before signing a multiyear standard deal the following summer.

The veteran guard played for the Nuggets in his first five NBA seasons prior to getting traded to the Wizards last summer. In his first season with Washington, he’s averaging 10.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 5.3 APG on .483/.406/.806 shooting through 51 games (28.1 MPG).

Long known as a steady hand in the backcourt, Morris leads the league in assist-to-turnover ratio in ’22/23 at 5.4-to-1, per Delon Wright has started the past couple games in Morris’ place, with newly promoted Jordan Goodwin and Kendrick Nunn also receiving minutes at guard.

Southeast Notes: Butler, Lowry, Herro, Oubre Jr., Porzingis, Morris

The Heat have lost four straight, including a five-point decision to the lottery-bound Hornets on Saturday, and Jimmy Butler is fed up, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. Butler said he was “tired of losing.”

The Heat recently added Kevin Love and Cody Zeller but that hasn’t turned their fortunes around in the short run. “I don’t think anybody in here wants to lose,” Butler said. “We’ve got to figure this out very, very quickly.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Kyle Lowry, who has been dealing with left knee soreness, has been upgraded to questionable for the Heat’s game against Philadelphia on Monday, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets. Tyler Herro is listed as questionable due to a rib contusion.
  • Forward Kelly Oubre Jr. is headed to unrestricted free agency this summer but it sounds as if he’d like to stay with the Hornets. Oubre said he still has a “lot to give” to the franchise, Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer tweets. I have a lot to give to this city, to this organization, to my teammates as far as my leadership and my life path,” he said.
  • Kristaps Porzingis missed the Wizards’ game on Sunday due to left knee soreness, while Monte Morris sat out with lower back soreness, the team’s PR department tweets.

Wizards Notes: Wright, Nunn, Morris, Gill, Unseld Jr.

While Delon Wright was recovering from a severely strained hamstring, he was able to notice how much the Wizards need him, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The numbers back up his observation — Washington is 13-6 with Wright in the lineup, but only 7-20 when he doesn’t play. He’s especially been a difference-maker on defense, where the team’s rating is 6.0 points better with him on the court.

“Once I had seen that I have that type of impact on the game, it made me more confident. It made me feel more welcome here,” Wright said. “A lot of times when you get to a certain team, they will say that you can do certain things. But even if you’re doing it, you still might get subbed or might not have your minutes as much as you want. Here I feel like I’m playing a decent amount of minutes and my role is enormous.”

It’s a rare feeling for Wright, who is with his seventh team in the past five seasons. He’s being used as a backup, starting just one of the 19 games he has played, but he’s having a significant impact in his 20.9 minutes per night, leading the league in steals per 36 minutes.

“I actually signed (with the Wizards), so that means a little more than getting traded for,” Wright said. “I feel the most confident I’ve been with an organization since I was in Toronto (from 2015-19).”

There’s more on the Wizards:

  • Kendrick Nunn had a strong debut for Washington on Wednesday in his first game since being acquired from the Lakers in the Rui Hachimura trade, notes Bijan Todd of NBC Sports Washington. Nunn expected to have a larger role in L.A. after signing with the team in free agency in 2021, but a knee injury prevented him from playing last year and he was averaging just 13.5 minutes per night in 39 games this season. He played 22 minutes in his first game with the Wizards and helped spark a comeback with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists. “I just wanted to come in and impact winning,” Nunn said. “Play hard, be aggressive, be myself and just impact winning.”
  • Monte Morris has provided the type of leadership at point guard that the Wizards were hoping for, but that may made him of the team’s best trade assets heading into the deadline, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. General manager Tommy Sheppard doesn’t plan to blow up the team’s core, Wallace adds, but more roster moves are likely coming.
  • Anthony Gill has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and will miss tonight’s game in New Orleans, Wallace tweets.
  • In an interview with Wes Hall of NBC Sports Washington (video link), coach Wes Unseld Jr. talks about the challenges he has faced midway through his second season with the team.

Wizards Notes: Avdija, Wright, Goodwin, Hachimura

Wizards forward Deni Avdija practiced on a limited basis on Monday after missing the last two games with lower back soreness, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Avdija is the only player on the injury report and he’s listed as questionable, the team tweets. Will Barton, who has also battled back soreness, practiced on a limited basis as well.

We have more on the Wizards:

  • With Rui Hachimura and guard Delon Wright back in the rotation after missing significant time due to injuries, the team’s defense should be on the improve, Ava Wallace of The Washington Post notes. Wright could be the team’s best perimeter defender. “We’ve talked about at length his ability to contain one-on-one,” head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “Hopefully, that helps minimize some of the points in the paint. He’s got great size, hand activity.”
  • Two-way player Jordan Goodwin is expected to remain with the team for the time being despite the return of Wright, Wallace reports in the same story. The Wizards want to avoid overloading Wright, starter Monte Morris and the other guards. Goodwin has a solid grip on the third-string point guard spot over No. 10 pick Johnny Davis, who has appeared in 14 games with the G League’s Capital City Go-Go.
  • Hachimura has been indispensable to the Wizards’ second unit this season because of his ability to provide instant offense, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Despite missing 16 games, Hachimura leads the Wizards in double-digit scoring games off the bench with 14. It’s a pivotal season for Hachimura, who’s headed for restricted free agency next summer with a current qualifying offer of $8,486,620.

Southeast Notes: Carter, Wizards, Morris, Rozier

Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. is targeting Friday for his return from a right plantar fascia strain, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Carter, who hasn’t played since November 18, told Price that the injured area is “feeling a lot better.”

Carter said he and the team put together a plan several days ago for him to play in Friday’s matchup with the Spurs, which marks the start of a two-game homestand. In preparation, Carter has been scrimmaging with assistant coaches and some of his teammates.

“Since I missed so much [time] it was like 75% getting my foot back right and then the other 25% of making sure — I haven’t played in four weeks — they want to make sure I don’t go out there and tweak something because it hasn’t had that same stress,” Carter said. “Hamstrings, quads, whatever the case may be. They just want to make sure I ramp it up to the point where it might not be exactly how the game will be but it’s close enough to where my body can start to get re-acclimated and be good to go.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • It’s hard to pinpoint a single reason for the Wizards‘ losing streak, which reached 10 games with Sunday’s narrow defeat against the Lakers, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Injuries have been an issue, but the losing continued as Kristaps Porzingis came back Saturday and Bradley Beal returned Sunday.
  • Monte Morris was surprised to learn that he had been traded to the Wizards after five years in Denver, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth admits that he went to dinner with Morris and promised him that he wouldn’t be dealt, but Booth said he couldn’t pass up the chance to acquire Kentavious Caldwell-Pope when the opportunity arose. “I was definitely shocked because I heard different things like I wasn’t going nowhere and stuff,” Morris said. “For me, that just showed me you can’t really put all your eggs in one basket nowhere. Ain’t no hard feelings towards him or nobody. I put that personal side behind me the moment they said the trade was done with. It’s just business.”
  • Hornets guard Terry Rozier suffered a contusion on his right hip while diving for a loose ball Sunday night, according to Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer. Rozier’s status for Monday’s game at Sacramento will be determined later today.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Wizards, Hornets, Oubre

Heat guard Victor Oladipo made his season debut on Tuesday night, taking the court for the first time since May and scoring nine points in 19 minutes off the bench. However, it will take more than Oladipo’s return to fix Miami’s second unit, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

As Winderman outlines, with Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin promoted to the starting lineup, injuries affecting a handful of players, and the club unwilling to fill its 15th roster spot due to luxury tax ramifications, depth no longer seems to be one of the Heat’s strengths. Miami ranks 29th in the NBA in both bench scoring (26.6 PPG) and bench shooting (.420 FG%) so far this season.

Here are a few more notes from around the Southeast:

  • While Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kyle Kuzma have thrived as the Wizards‘ “Big Three,” the team needs more offensive production from its role players, especially with Beal out due to a hamstring injury, says Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Wallace singles out Monte Morris, Will Barton, and Deni Avdija as a few rotation players who “haven’t been operating at their full potential.”
  • Injuries have prevented the Hornets from getting a clear sense of what works and what doesn’t, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “We haven’t played enough lineups together,” head coach Steve Clifford said. “We have individual goals for the guys. But in terms of our group, we’ve had no continuity. So, it’s been hard to figure out. Usually by 15 games, you can say, ‘When we defensive rebound, we win.’ ‘When we don’t turn the ball over, we’re good.’ And we’ve been all over the place. So that’s a good question, but we are not there yet.”
  • In a mailbag for The Charlotte Observer (subscriber link), Boone says Hornets forward Kelly Oubre is a player worth keeping an eye on this season. As Boone outlines, Oubre would be a movable asset if the team decides to sell, but he appears to have interest in remaining in Charlotte if the club is interested in keeping him.

Southeast Notes: Butler, Morris, Wizards, Vaillancourt

Jimmy Butler could rejoin the Heat during their current road trip, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets. Coach Erik Spoeltra left that possibility open, indicating that Butler is working out in Miami. Butler, who has been dealing with right knee soreness, has only appeared in 13 games this season and has been sidelined since Nov. 16.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Monte Morris was back in action for the Wizards on Sunday after the point guard missed the last three games because of right ankle soreness, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. However, lottery pick Johnny Davis (right groin soreness), Rui Hachimura (right ankle soreness) and Kyle Kuzma (lower back pain) were inactive.
  • Injuries have created havoc for the Wizards’ rotation and weakened their bench, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes.  The Wizards’ second unit is 20th in net rating (-1.2) and 26th in plus/minus (-3.3). The reserves rank 25th offensively (108.6), compared to ninth defensively (109.8).
  • Former Hornets broadcaster Gerry Vaillancourt has passed away, according to a team statement tweeted by the P.R. department. He was a radio and TV broadcaster for the team from 1990-2002. The cause of death was a heart condition that Vaillancourt, 72, was diagnosed with 25 years ago, according to Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer.

Wizards Notes: Japan Trip, Morris, Barton, Kispert, Hachimura

The Wizards enjoyed being part of the Japan Games, but the hardest part of the trip to Asia will occur when they return home, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. The players will have to readjust their body clocks to East Coast time while preparing for a regular season that’s a little more than two weeks away. Coach Wes Unseld Jr. said the medical staff has a plan to help the team handle the time change, and the players are confident they can deal with it.

“Of course, we have to do the right thing and try to get in a rhythm as soon as possible,” Kristaps Porziņģis said. “But we’re all young. We’re all athletes. And I think we’ll adjust back to D.C. time pretty quickly, and we have enough days until the next game also. So it shouldn’t be a problem. It shouldn’t be an excuse going forward.”

Even though Washington lost both games to the Warriors, Unseld was mostly happy with what he saw on the trip. The team’s starters looked much better Sunday as the Wizards built a 16-point fourth quarter lead that the end of the bench couldn’t hold.

“I’m pretty satisfied outside of those last eight minutes this afternoon of where we are,” Unseld said. “I thought we did a lot of good things today, but overall I think we’re in a pretty good spot as far as fast-tracking some of the areas of concern from last year. Defensively, I think we’re in a better spot with the hand activity, causing deflections. I think our ball movement has improved. We still struggle to make shots, and I think that’s just a rhythm thing. But we’re creating some good looks. So all-in-all, I think it’s been a solid week and a half.”

There’s more on the Wizards:

  • Monte Morris made his second straight start at point guard Sunday, indicating that he might have that role locked up despite an expected competition with Delon Wright, notes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Morris, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Nuggets, showed a polished midrange game and an ability to make shots in traffic, Hughes observes.
  • Will Barton, who was part of the same deal with Denver, made his preseason debut after missing the opener due to tightness in his lower back, Hughes adds. Corey Kispert was ruled out of Sunday’s game after suffering a sprained left ankle in the first quarter.
  • Rui Hachimura talks about the excitement of bringing the team to his home country in an interview with Kendra Andrews of ESPN’s “NBA Today” (video link).

Southeast Notes: Wizards, M. Williams, Fultz, Krejci, Korver

Josh Robbins of The Athletic takes a look at the Wizards‘ projected depth chart and rotation, predicting that former Nuggets Monte Morris and Will Barton will join Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, and Kristaps Porzingis in the starting five to open the season.

Assuming Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. decides to roll with a 10-man rotation to open the season, Robbins projects Delon Wright, Deni Avdija, Rui Hachimura, and Daniel Gafford to be part of the second unit, with either Corey Kispert or Johnny Davis slotting into the second backcourt spot.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Longtime Hornets forward Marvin Williams has rejoined the franchise in a basketball operations role, tweets Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. In his new position, Williams will assist with player programs and with player development off the court, according to Boone.
  • Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel spoke to Dr. David Lee, a local orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon, to get a sense of how long it might take Magic point guard Markelle Fultz to return from a fractured toe. Lee estimated that Fultz could potentially return to Orlando’s lineup in about four to eight weeks, which would be anywhere from mid-October to mid-November. However, the team hasn’t provided a specific recovery timeline.
  • Hawks head coach Nate McMillan liked what he saw from newly added guard Vit Krejci in the 22-year-old’s first practice with the team on Thursday. “He knows how to play,” McMillan said, per Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). “I think he has a high basketball IQ. We put him right out there. It was good to see him be available to play and practice with our guys today. So that was exciting.”
  • Although Kyle Korver is technically part of the Hawksfront office and not the coaching staff, he has been working with players – including Clint Capela and Jalen Johnson – on their shooting during training camp, as Williams writes in a full story for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required). “I’ve worked with him quite a few times actually,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “Kyle has helped me make a few adjustments in my shot. You know, having him around has helped a lot. He’s been helping a lot of these guys, giving them pointers and things they can work on, so it’s good.”