Larry Nance Jr.

Injury Notes: Stewart, Muscala, James, Davis, Williamson, Jones, Jokic

Pistons center Isaiah Stewart will be sidelined for 10-to-14 days with an ankle sprain, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Detroit later confirmed the news via a press release.

Stewart missed Detroit’s Wednesday matchup against the Cavaliers after suffering the injury in the Sunday victory over the Thunder. The 6’8″ big man previously missed eight games in a row with a lingering toe injury. In total, he’s been unavailable for 12 games this year and will miss more with this ankle injury.

The fourth-year center is averaging 11.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per night while shooting 47.0% from the floor and 37.4% from beyond the arc. He has started every game but one for the Pistons this season.

We have more injury notes from around the league:

  • Stewart isn’t the only member of the Pistons dealing with an injury, as forward/center Mike Muscala exited the game against the Cavs in the first quarter. According to a release from the team, Muscala suffered a concussion and is beginning a mandated return-to-participation process that must be completed before returning to basketball activities, per the league’s concussion policy. There is no timetable for his return, according to the release.
  • Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis weren’t available for Thursday’s victory over the Celtics, according to The Orange County Register’s Khobi Price. James was listed as out with left ankle peroneal tendinopathy while Davis continues to be affected by bilateral Achilles tendinopathy and left hip spasms. “Those guys [are] dealing with two active injuries that we have been pretty much managing all year that got inflamed a little bit,” coach Darvin Ham said pregame. “Wanted to let them go through shootaround, see how it was, determined ultimately that they will be out for the night.
  • Pelicans forwards Zion Williamson (left foot bone contusion) and Herbert Jones (right adductor soreness) missed New Orleans’ Wednesday matchup against the Rockets (Twitter link). Williamson and Jones went through parts of practice on Thursday but both players, alongside Larry Nance Jr., are considered questionable to play on Friday in San Antonio, per’s Christian Clark (Twitter links).
  • After missing Wednesday’s contest against Oklahoma City, Nuggets star Nikola Jokic is questionable for Friday’s outing versus Portland with low back pain, according to The Denver Gazette’s Vinny Benedetto (Twitter link). The injury is not expected to be a long-term issue.

Western Notes: Watson, Lakers, Nance, Rose

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone made a late decision to start Peyton Watson in place of injured forward Aaron Gordon on Thursday and the second-year wing responded in a major way, scoring a career-high 20 points and making four three-pointers as Memphis gave him room on the perimeter, as Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post details.

“They didn’t guard him early but he stayed with it and he didn’t lose confidence,” Malone said. “That can mess with you, but I thought Peyton did a really good job. I think he knows we have faith and confidence in him, and let’s be honest, Peyton Watson knows he’s a huge part of our future.”

Bennett Durando of The Denver Post (Twitter link) referred to it as a “statement decision” by Malone to insert Watson into the starting five over Justin Holiday, who had started the previous four games that Gordon missed.

Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link) adds that the club had planned to approach that spot in the lineup on a game-by-game basis until Gordon gets healthy, but suggests Watson may have earned the role going forward with his performance on Thursday.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • After linking Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale to the Lakers in the offseason, Jovan Buha of The Athletic said this week in an episode of Hoops Tonight (YouTube link) that Los Angeles still has trade interest in the two Nets forwards. NetsDaily passes along Buha’s comments and explores whether a deal between the two teams is realistic.
  • Ankle, groin, and rib injuries sapped Larry Nance Jr. of much of his athleticism earlier in the season, but the Pelicans big man is now feeling as good as he has “in years,” he tells Christian Clark of Nance, who played on Thursday for the first time since November 27, pointed to a dunk over Walker Kessler as an example of the type of play he wasn’t making a month or two ago. “It just felt good to get back to who I am,” Nance said. “Earlier in the season, I would have got that drop-off and tried to throw up some B.S. hook or some floater. I can make it. But that’s not who I am. That’s not what this team needs from me.”
  • Grizzlies guard Derrick Rose is loving being back in Memphis after spending a single college season with the Memphis Tigers 16 years ago, writes Damichael Cole of The Commercial Appeal. Rose and his family had never bought a home in any of the cities he previously played in, but they did so in Memphis this year, with the 35-year-old hoping to stick around for the foreseeable future. “When I did leave (after college), I always wished that I stayed a little bit longer,” Rose said. “That’s crazy, like all the times we’ve had chances to purchase spots and our first purchase was in Memphis.”

Injury Notes: Brown, Doncic, Payton, Vincent, Nance, Heat

Celtics wing Jaylen Brown has been ruled out of Thursday’s game against Detroit due to a lower back contusion, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Brown sustained the injury on Monday against the Lakers after being accidentally kneed in the back by LeBron James. Both players were down in pain for a few minutes, but were able to return later in the contest.

Brown, who signed a five-year, super-max extension in the offseason, is averaging 22.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.6 APG and 1.1 SPG on .478/.335/.734 shooting in 28 games (33.8 MPG) this season for Boston.

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • The Mavericks will be without Luka Doncic for Thursday’s game in Minnesota, as first reported by Marc Stein (via Twitter). Doncic is dealing with left quad soreness. As Stein notes, it’s the second game of a back-to-back for Dallas, which lost to Cleveland on Wednesday.
  • Warriors swingman Gary Payton II practiced on Wednesday, according to Jon Schultz of The San Francisco Chronicle. “He had a lot of energy today,” Trayce Jackson-Davis said of Payton. “Had a great practice, and we need them out there. Obviously our guard depth is a little shallow right now, and just having another defensive two-way guard on the floor is going to help us a lot.” However, Payton has been ruled out of Thursday’s contest vs. Miami, per the league’s official injury report. It will be the 13th consecutive absence for Payton, who has been battling a right calf strain.
  • Lakers guard Gabe Vincent underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Wednesday and will be reevaluated in about eight weeks, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Jarred Vanderbilt is one of the players who will receive more minutes with Vincent out, Turner adds. “It obviously hurt. He’s a big component of what we do,” Vanderbilt said of Vincent. “Great player, great system player. So, obviously health comes first. So, we want him to get healthy. For us, it’s the next-man-up mentality. Continue to play the right way and have some guys step up in his absence.”
  • Pelicans big man Larry Nance Jr. has missed the past month after aggravating a rib fracture, but he’ll be active tonight against Utah, he told Christian Clark of and other media members (Twitter link). Nance has been limited to 14 games thus far in 2023/24.
  • The Heat have dealt with numerous injuries once again this season and will be shorthanded during Thursday’s contest in Golden State, tweets Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Jimmy Butler (left calf strain), Kyle Lowry (soreness), Caleb Martin (right ankle sprain) are all out, Josh Richardson (back discomfort) is doubtful, and Orlando Robinson is away from the team after being assigned to the G League.

Southwest Notes: Mavs’ Sale, Pelicans, H. Jones, Spurs

Mark Cuban’s agreed-upon sale of a majority stake in the Mavericks has been in the works for quite some time, Marc Stein reports in a Substack post.

Cuban informed commissioner Adam Silver last season that he was pursuing the sale with Las Vegas Sands Corp. Cuban will retain control of the Mavericks’ basketball ops, even though he will no longer hold the majority stake if the Board of Governors approves the transaction.

The partnership hopes to build an arena and casino in Dallas if gambling is approved in the state. Cuban told Everton Bailey Jr. of the Dallas Morning News via email that the franchise would remain in Dallas, despite the incoming owners’ Las Vegas roots.

“I will say on the record the team is not moving anywhere,” Cuban wrote. “We are the DALLAS Mavs.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans advanced to the in-season tournament semifinals on Monday by defeating Sacramento. ESPN’s Andrew Lopez provides details about a team meeting last month held following a five-game losing streak. Larry Nance Jr. called the meeting, which was described as productive. The players were receptive to constructive criticism. “It just felt a little that we could be better. And I thought we did a great job of addressing exactly what we needed to address and walking into the meeting with a clear direction and a path the meeting was supposed to take. And it took that,” Nance said.
  • Herbert Jones displayed his defensive chops against the Kings’ De’Aaron Fox on Monday, hounding the star guard into a 10-for-25 shooting performance and six turnovers. Jones, who is signed through the 2026/27 season after becoming a restricted free agent earlier this year, also supplied 23 points, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune notes. “Herb was everywhere,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “He was flying around. He was blocking shots. He was getting steals, rebounding the ball. We needed that effort across the ball. This was a big-time win.”
  • The addition of Victor Wembanyama hasn’t resolved the Spurs’ defensive issues. Losers of 14 straight, they’re giving up an average of 123.9 points per game and the coaching staff is emphasizing the fundamentals to the young squad. “Now we are starting from it seems like square one, as basic as it gets about where to be in help side, how to guard the ball, taking away the basket first and forcing them to kick out to tougher shots,” guard Tre Jones told Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “It seems like so many basic things, but some people have never been taught it.”

Pelicans’ Larry Nance Jr. Out 4-6 Weeks With Rib Fracture

Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. is expected to miss four-to-six weeks after re-aggravating his right rib fracture, according to a release from the team.

Nance has been affected by health problems since he arrived in New Orleans at the trade deadline in 2022. He was dealing with an injury when he first was traded to the Pels and was limited to just nine games with the team that year. In 2022/23, Nance was healthier, but still missed 17 games. This year, he’s played in 14 games, having missed four in a row from Nov. 14-20 due to the rib injury he has now re-aggravated.

It’s a tough blow for both Nance and the Pelicans. When fully healthy, Nance can be an impact player at the forward position for a team continually dealing with injuries across the rotation. As pointed out by ESPN’s Andrew Lopez (Twitter link), the Pelicans are tied for the fourth-most missed games this season due to injury. Thankfully for New Orleans, CJ McCollum just returned to the rotation and Trey Murphy is also set to make his season debut.

Nance is averaging 6.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 88 games since joining the Pelicans. In his 14 appearances this year, he’s averaging 3.5 points in 15.1 minutes per night.

Naji Marshall is the most obvious choice to take over some of the minutes left by Nance. New Orleans could also look to turn to two-way forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl if needed.

Southwest Notes: Popovich, Leonard, Spurs, Nance, Thompson

In an extremely unusual — perhaps even unprecedented — move, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich took a microphone from the scorer’s table while Kawhi Leonard was shooting free throws to urge the home crowd to stop booing, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscriber link).

Excuse me for a second,” Popovich said after telling referee Tyler Ford he was going to interrupt the game to make an announcement. “Can we stop all the bull and let these guys play? It’s got no class. That’s not who we are. Knock off the booing.”

His words had the opposite effect, as Leonard was booed even louder after Popovich stopped speaking (Twitter video link via Nate Ryan of KENS 5).

After Wednesday’s game, Popovich claimed that he didn’t want Leonard to be motivated by the booing, but that’s obviously a much different reason than what he told the fans, notes Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News (via Twitter).

Anybody who knows anything about sports, you don’t poke the bear,” said Popovich, who declined to clarify those comments.

Leonard asked to be traded from San Antonio back in 2018 after spending his first seven years with the club, and has been relentlessly booed by Spurs fans ever since, Orsborn adds. The two-time Finals MVP said he was nonplussed by the incident, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

They’re probably going to boo me the rest of my career…They’re one of the best fans in the league and very competitive,” Leonard said (Twitter link via Orsborn). “Once I step on this court, they show that they’re going for the other side. When I’m on the streets or going into restaurants, they show love.”

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Prior to their loss to Memphis last weekend, the Spurs held a players-only meeting, Orsborn writes in another subscriber-only story for the Express-News. There was “no drama” involved in the meeting, according to Orsborn, and guard Devin Vassell said he hopes to step into a leadership role — something the young team has been lacking early in 2023/24. “We addressed a lot of stuff,” he said. “I think there’s going to be changes as the year goes on and stuff like that.”
  • After missing the past four games with a rib fracture, Pelicans forward/center Larry Nance Jr. was able to suit up on Wednesday against Sacramento, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic. Nance finished with four points, four rebounds and a steal in 12 minutes during New Orleans’ victory.
  • Rockets head coach Ime Udoka said first-round pick Amen Thompson has been able to do more individual on-court work in recent days and may be able to practice in the next week or two, according to Danielle Lerner of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter links). Thompson, the fourth pick in June’s draft, has been battling a Grade 2 right ankle sprain.

Southwest Notes: Brooks, Grizzlies, McCollum, Nance, THJ, Osman

Dillon Brooks, who has been lauded by Rockets coaches and teammates alike for the grit and toughness he has brought to his new team in Houston, believes his former club in Memphis has missed the edge he brought to the court, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required) writes. Ahead of his first meeting against Memphis on Wednesday, Brooks said the Grizzlies “have no swagger” this season without him.

“It’s like the girlfriend that you used to have,” Brooks said of his departure from the Grizzlies, who have a 3-10 record. “You don’t know how good she is until she’s gone.”

Asked about Brooks’ comments, Grizzlies wing Desmond Bane said he “hasn’t seen anything that he’s said,” while Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins took the high road, saying that he’s “really happy for (Brooks’) early-season success,” per Wynston Wilcox of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Although they weren’t willing to get dragged into a war of words with Brooks, it sounds like there are certainly some Grizzlies players who are looking forward to facing their former teammate.

“I want to play against him,” Jaren Jackson Jr. told Wilcox. “I’ve been talking trash to Dillon for five years, so it’s great.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • While it remains unclear exactly when they’ll return to game action, injured Pelicans veterans CJ McCollum (collapsed lung) and Larry Nance Jr. (rib fracture) are trending in the right direction. Both players were full participants in practice on Tuesday, according to head coach Willie Green (Twitter link via Will Guillory of The Athletic). McCollum, who said he also fractured a rib, told reporters that he feels good and is awaiting medical clearance from his pulmonologist, per Christian Clark of “I should be cleared here pretty soon,” he said.
  • Even without McCollum and Nance available, the Pelicans have been playing good basketball lately, winning three of their last four games, including a 36-point blowout over Sacramento on Monday. As Clark details for, star forward Zion Williamson said a team meeting helped spark the turnaround. “We weren’t on the same page before,” Williamson said. “Now we’re all on the same page. … We talked about what we wanted to do as a unit. That’s what we are going to live and die with. Since we are all on the same page, I think we have been gelling together a lot better.”
  • Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. had started more often than not in his previous four-plus seasons in Dallas, but he has embraced a sixth man role this season, writes Eddie Sefko of Hardaway’s 18.2 points per game and .405 3PT% would be career highs. “I said before, first and foremost, in order for you to know that you’re going in that role, you have to embrace it and accept it,” Hardaway said. “That’s what (Jamal Crawford) did. That’s what (Lou Williams) did. That’s what J.R. Smith did. And that’s what I’m trying to do is have that same mentality.”
  • When the Spurs acquired Cedi Osman as part of the three-team sign-and-trade deal sending Max Strus to Cleveland, it wasn’t clear whether the veteran forward would even be in their plans. However, Osman is playing well in a regular role off the bench and has earned praise from head coach Gregg Popovich, who called him “a competitor of the highest order,” according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required). “He’s been really good for us,” Popovich said of the 28-year-old, who is on an expiring contract.

Larry Nance Jr. Diagnosed With Rib Fracture

The Pelicans have lost five straight games and they got more bad news on Monday. Key reserve Larry Nance Jr. has a right rib fracture, according to a team press release.

He’ll be re-examined in 10-to-14 days to determine his healing progress.

Nance is averaging 3.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per contest this season. Last season, Nance averaged 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in 21.7 minutes per night over 65 regular season games.

Nance has dealt with a variety of injuries throughout his career. In the last four seasons alone, he has missed time due to knee, wrist, hand, shoulder, Achilles, neck, groin and ankle ailments.

New Orleans has already been beset by injuries to key performers this season, including CJ McCollum, Herbert Jones, Trey Murphy and Jose Alvarado.

Veteran Cody Zeller could see increased playing time off the bench with Nance sidelined.

Southwest Notes: Morant, Spurs, Sochan, Pelicans, J. Green

Baxter Holmes and Tim MacMahon of published a lengthy investigative story this week detailing the transformation of Grizzlies guard Ja Morant from a Murray State prospect with “zero” red flags into a player whose worrisome off-court behavior led to multiple sit-downs with the team’s brass and – eventually – to suspensions of eight and 25 games.

While ESPN’s report includes several new details and quotes and is worth checking out in full, Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins rejected the idea that it created an “elephant in the room” for his club, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. According to Cole, shortly after ESPN’s article was published, Jenkins met with the team — and separately with Morant.

“I read the article, and I’m not going to comment on anonymous sources,” Jenkins said. “I’m not really going to comment on the past. I’m really just focused on the present right now — the strides he is making, positive strides, and the strides that the team is making. … I want him to know he’s got 100% support from us and his teammates.”

Morant’s teammates were equally dismissive of the ESPN report and expressed their support for the point guard, who will serve his 25-game suspension to begin the 2023/24 season. Big man Xavier Tillman called it “annoying” to have to relitigate Morant’s past behavior, while Desmond Bane said the rest of the team has “got his back.”

“People are bringing up anything they can just for people to have anything to read,” Bane said. “We ain’t worried about that. We with 12.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Spurs‘ starting five for the regular season will consist of Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Victor Wembanyama, and Zach Collins, head coach Gregg Popovich revealed this week (story via Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News). The 6’9″ Sochan will serve as the de facto point guard in the super-sized lineup, though he expects to share the ball-handling duties. “It doesn’t mean I have to control (the offense) or be the main ball-handler,” Sochan said. “Whoever gets the ball can push it and play with a flow instead of playing slow.”
  • Pelicans big men Larry Nance Jr. (ankle) and Cody Zeller (back) took part in contact drills in practice on Thursday, while guard Jose Alvarado (ankle) was a limited participant, tweets Christian Clark of New Orleans will be without Naji Marshall and Trey Murphy when the season gets underway, so having Nance, Zeller, and Alvarado available would help bolster the club’s depth.
  • Rockets guard and former No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green sat down with Shams Charania of Stadium (Twitter video link) to discuss what he worked on during the offseason, his thoughts on the addition of free agent point guard Fred VanVleet, and his impressions of several of his new teammates, among other topics.
  • Mavericks wing Josh Green, who injured his back earlier this week, was a full participant in practice on Thursday and doesn’t sound concerned about his availability when the regular season begins next week, as Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News relays (via Twitter).

Pelicans Notes: Alvarado, Nance, Zion, Big Three

Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado and forward/center Larry Nance Jr. won’t be able to participate in training camp next week, the team announced in a press release on Thursday.

According to the team, Alvarado is expected to resume basketball activities in approximately two or three weeks after spraining his right ankle during an offseason workout. Alvarado’s ankle injury was reported earlier this month.

As for Nance, he received a biologic injection to stimulate the healing process in his left ankle, according to the Pelicans. Nance, who missed the final game of New Orleans’ 2022/23 season (a play-in loss to the Thunder), is expected to make a full recovery before the ’23/24 season begins, per the team, and should also return to basketball activities in two or three weeks.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • Andrew Lopez of explores what the Pelicans should expect from Zion Williamson in 2023/24, citing multiple sources who say the former No. 1 overall pick was playing pickup games with teammates earlier this month and that he has been working with trainers this summer to get his lower body ready for the 82-game season.
  • Lopez also writes that some people around the Pelicans organization are hoping that the embarrassment from being at the center of some off-court drama this summer will provide extra motivation for Williamson to have a big year on the court.
  • Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum have only been on the court for 172 minutes together as Pelicans. William Guillory of The Athletic considers what the club should expect from its big three, assuming they stay healthy.
  • The odds of Giannis Antetokounmpo remaining with the Bucks beyond his current contract look better following the club’s trade for Damian Lillard. However, if things go south in Milwaukee, the Pelicans stand to benefit, notes Christian Clark of As a result of 2020’s Jrue Holiday trade, the Bucks still owe the Pelicans first-round pick swaps in 2024 and 2026, along with an unprotected first-rounder in 2027. New Orleans would also get Milwaukee’s 2025 first-rounder if it lands in the top four, which is a long shot.