Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert Diagnosed With Sprained PCL, Bone Bruise

DECEMBER 16, 12:12 pm: Gobert has been diagnosed with a sprained PCL in his left knee and a bone bruise in his tibia, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter). Gobert is expected to miss at least one month.

DECEMBER 15, 8:05pm: The Jazz watched Rudy Gobert fall to another knee injury Friday night, Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News writes. The big man clutched his left leg in pain after tangling up with Derrick Favors and eventually limped to the team locker room ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

The scary moment comes less than two weeks after the big man made his return to the Jazz, having missed 11 contests recovering from a right knee injury.

Although the center hasn’t undergone an MRI, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets that early evaluation suggests it’s a Grade 1 MCL sprain.

Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News tweets that the injury isn’t “too serious” and that it may have just looked worse than it actually was. Woodyard said in another tweet that it certainly isn’t season-ending.

Rudy Gobert Set To Return For Jazz

Jazz center Rudy Gobert is set to make his return to the court, with the team announcing today (via Twitter) that he’ll be available to play in Monday night’s game against the Wizards. Gobert has been sidelined since November 10 with a leg injury.

Gobert, who was diagnosed with a right tibia contusion, is returning to action a little sooner than initially anticipated. On November 12, the Jazz announced that the All-Star big man would be reevaluated in four weeks — that was just over three weeks ago.

It’s fair to wonder if Gobert’s speedy recovery is at least somewhat linked to the incentives in his contract, which ESPN’s Bobby Marks recently detailed. The 25-year-old can earn up to $2MM in bonuses this year, but in order to receive some of that bonus money, he’ll have to appear in at least 67 games. That would mean missing no more than 15 contests over the course of the regular season — Gobert, who was sidelined for 11 games due to his leg injury, would have missed exactly 15 based on his original four-week timetable.

It will be interesting to see how the Jazz manage their frontcourt minutes with Gobert back in the mix. Derrick Favors, who generally starts alongside Gobert when both players are healthy, has seen more action at center lately and has thrived, averaging 16.5 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 1.5 BPG with a .610 FG% during Gobert’s absence. That showcase could help boost Favors’ trade value if Utah decides to shop him before the deadline — the former third overall pick is in a contract year and his long-term future with the Jazz remains up in the air.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Gobert, Favors

While Jazz fans watched Gordon Hayward exit for Boston this summer, rookie Donovan Mitchell is doing everything in his power to help them move on, Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders writes. Mitchell has not only thrived in his first season but stepped up as an immediate core piece capable of making a serious impact on games.

Over the course of the last 11 games, Mitchell has averaged 20.2 points, 4.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds. That’s been good enough to help the Jazz win seven of those contests and their last five consecutive.

Scotto writes that Michell’s emergence as a building block for the future will help the franchise turn the page from the Gordon Hayward Era.

There’s more from Utah:

  • There’s a chance that Jazz center Rudy Gobert will be back in action Monday night, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News reports. Gobert has missed the last 11 games with a knee injury.
  • There’s no denying that the Jazz are built around center Rudy Gobert but Derrick Favors has filled in admirably for his injured teammate over the course of the past month. “I just want to basically come out and show everybody that I’m back. I’m 100 percent now,” Favors told Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News. The 26-year-old former third-overall pick (and pending free agent) was once regarded as part of Utah’s future core but he has failed to stay consistently healthy throughout his seven-year career.
  • Several members in the Jazz organization had a feeling that Gordon Hayward wouldn’t be returning to the squad via free agency last summer. As Zach Lowe of ESPN details, center Rudy Gobert took notice when Hayward uncharacteristically stopped responding to text messages prior to his final decision.

Embiid Bonus Could Affect Sixers’ Cap Space

Joel Embiid‘s strong start could lead to a bonus that would affect the Sixers’ ability to compete on the free agent market next summer, writes Bobby Marks of ESPN.

The second-year center signed a five-year extension over the summer that has a base value of $146MM, but could rise as high as $178MM if he reaches certain benchmarks. That includes a hefty bonus if he is named Most Valuable Player or earns first-team All-NBA honors this season. Embiid, who came into tonight averaging 22.9 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, is certainly a candidate to make the All-NBA team at center, especially with the injury to Rudy Gobert and the move of Anthony Davis to power forward.

The bonus would raise Embiid’s cap hit from $25.3MM to $30.3MM for 2018/19 and would cost Philadelphia $5MM in cap space for each subsequent year of the contract. The Sixers have nearly $32MM in projected cap room right now, not counting $1.6MM team options for T.J. McConnell and Richaun Holmes, so $5MM could affect their ability to offer a full max contract.

Emiid’s contract also contains a minutes clause that could boost his future earnings. He can make his contract fully guaranteed starting in 2020/21 or 2021/22 if he plays at least 1,650 minutes in three consecutive years or three out of four starting with this season. He has accumulated 532 minutes in 18 games, putting him on pace to reach that figure for this year.

Marks passes on a few other tidbits related to contract incentives:

  • The punch from Bobby Portis that hospitalized Nikola Mirotic has cost the Bulls forward $1MM in bonuses. Mirotic had four benchmarks valued at $250K each, and although each was unlikely, he needed to play 65 games to be eligible and he has already missed 20.
  • Nets guard Jeremy Lin, who played just one game this season before needing knee surgery, missed a chance to earn several bonuses worth $750K.
  • Nuggets forward Paul Millsap has a $500K incentive for making the All-Star team, which is impossible after wrist surgery that will keep him sidelined until after the February 18 game. Millsap had been an All-Star the past four seasons in the East. He also would receive a $150K bonus for playing 65 games and averaging seven rebounds per 36 minutes, but that’s out of reach because of the injury. He can still get $150K if the Nuggets make the playoffs, but for now his cap hit for next season will be cut from $29.7MM to $29.2MM.
  • Gobert took the biggest hit because of injury, which could cost him up to $2MM. The Jazz center, who is not expected back until the middle of the month because of a bone bruise in his right knee, had a pair of $250K incentives based on 67 games played, along with a $500K bonus for being named first team All-Defense and $1MM for making the All-Star game.
  • Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon needs his scoring and rebounding averages to total more than 16 to collect a $900K bonus. He was at 11.1 PPG and 7.8 RPG before his recent injury.
  • The Trail Blazers could see a smaller luxury tax bill if Maurice Harkless continues to struggle with his three-point shot. Currently shooting 24.3% from distance, Harkless needs to reach 35% at the end of the season to get a $500K bonus. If he falls short, Portland’s tax bill will dip from $4.3MM to $3.5MM.

Western Notes: Len, Gobert, Leonard, Rockets

Alex Len has become the odd man out in the Suns’ center rotation and he cannot hide his displeasure, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic reports. Len signed a one-year, $4.2MM qualifying offer with Phoenix after failing to receive an offer sheet that he found acceptable as a restricted free agent over the summer. Len has not played in two of the three last games, as interim coach Jay Triano has decided to ride veterans Tyson Chandler and recently-acquired Greg Monroe“I put in the work hoping to show my skills on the court,” Len told Bordow. “So when you’re not able to help your team, it’s frustrating.” Len’s lack of playing time won’t help his cause when he enters the market again next summer, this time as an unrestricted free agent.

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Jazz center Rudy Gobert is participating in on-court individual drills at practice, Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News tweets. This could be a sign that Gobert, who is recovering from a right knee injury, will return to action sooner than the four- to six-week timetable given on November 12th. Gobert injured the knee in a collision with Heat guard Dion Waiters.
  • Spurs All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard is making significant progress from the right quadriceps tendinopathy that has kept him out of action all season, coach Gregg Popovich told Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News and other media members. Popovich, who jokingly scoffed at “Doctor” Tony Parker‘s estimation that Leonard could return in two or three weeks, said Leonard would soon participate in 5-on-5 practice drills. “He’s getting very close and making progress,” Popovich said. “He’s having contact now and hopefully we will get him back shortly.”
  • The Rockets are not experiencing chemistry issues because the veterans they acquired know how to blend in, according to Hunter Atkins of The Houston Chronicle. Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute know what it takes to work well with others and it shows now that the team is playing at full strength, Atkins adds.

Jazz Notes: Hayward, Gobert, Favors, Johnson

The Jazz recognize that there’s no easy way to make up for the loss of Gordon Hayward in free agency, writes Chris Mannix of The Vertical. After winning 51 games last season, Utah bet heavily on its chances to re-sign Hayward and didn’t have a way to replace him when he left for Boston. Hayward was the leading scorer for the Jazz last season at 21.9 points per game and averaged 15.6 over seven years in Utah.

“There is always an optimism at the beginning of the season,” said coach Quin Snyder. “And I’m not saying there isn’t that now, but it’s tempered a little bit with the personnel changes. … There isn’t a silver bullet. What there is, though, is a challenge. That’s something you can really embrace and enjoy.”

There’s more tonight from Utah:

  • The rebuilding effort has been slowed by a tibia contusion that has sidelined center Rudy Gobert. The league’s leading shot blocker, who will miss at least four more weeks before being re-evaluated, told Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News he hasn’t lost faith in his team’s ability to remain a contender. “Like I said, starting the season I’m confident that the team is going to win games even when I’m not here and I’ll be back stronger,” Gobert said. “It’s like an All-Star break before the All-Star break. So everything is good, I’m confident and nothing’s changed. No team goals. No individual goals. Everything’s good.
  • The loss of Gobert will bring changes as the Jazz try to get by with a smaller lineup, relays the Associated Press. Derrick Favors will move from power forward to center, with Thabo Sefolosha, Jonas JerebkoEkpe Udoh and Joe Ingles all seeing time at the four spot. Joe Johnson will be added to that mix once he returns from a wrist injury. “Every substitution pattern changes the makeup of the team,” Snyder said. “Some more dramatically than others. Obviously, Derrick playing with Thabo or Joe Ingles at the four, there’s a different style of attack. It’s something that Derrick’s capable of doing and doing well.”
  • Johnson will be out at least two more weeks with tendon instability in his right wrist, Woodyard writes in a separate story. He talked with a hand specialist and is showing some improvement, but there’s no timetable for his return. Johnson played just seven games before the injury.

Northwest Notes: Gobert, Jerebko, Napier, Thunder

Rudy Gobert‘s bone bruise in his right knee will sideline him until December at the earliest, a major blow to the Jazz‘s frontcourt. However, the Utah center also feels the team will be fine in his absence and that he will return to form once he recovers from injury.

“I’m confident that the team is going to win games even when I’m not here and I’ll be back stronger,” Gobert said (via Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News). “It’s like an All-Star break before the All-Star break. So everything is good, I’m confident and nothing’s changed. No team goals. No individual goals. Everything’s good.”

Gobert, 25, was in the midst of another productive season. Through 12 contests, Gobert posted 13.9 PPG, 10.5 RPG and a league-best 2.5 blocks. That Jazz, currently in 10th place in the Western Conference with a 6-8 record, will miss Gobert’s defense but will have to tread water until he returns to not fall out of the playoff race.

Check out additional news out of the Northwest Division:

Jazz Notes: Favors, Gobert, Mitchell, Hood

Derrick Favors feels comfortable moving into the starting center spot for the Jazz with Rudy Gobert sidelined, Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News reports. Favors did the same thing for 18 games two seasons ago when Gobert was injured and once again during last season’s playoffs, Sorensen notes. Favors piled up 24 points and 12 rebounds against the Nets Saturday. Gobert is expected to miss at least a month of action due to a tibia contusion. “It’s the same as last year, same as the year before that when Rudy went down and I had to move to the five spot,” Favors told Sorensen. “Even before that, I was starting at the five, so I’m ready for it.” Favors, who is in his walk year, can boost his stock in free agency if he plays well in Gobert’s absence.

In other developments involving the Jazz:

  • The Jazz contacted the league office regarding the play in which Gobert was injured but no action was taken, Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. Heat guard Dion Waiters dove to the floor while chasing a loose ball and rolled toward Gobert body, causing the injury. The league told the Jazz that a foul against Waiters should’ve been called but it was deemed not intentional, Jones adds.
  • Donovan Mitchell‘s competitive drive has made him one of this year’s draft-day steals, Brian Lewis of the New York Post opines. The combo guard, taken with the No. 13 overall pick, scored a game-high 26 points against the Nets. “His competitive spirit is something you can’t teach,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder told Lewis and other media members. “There’s certain things you can’t teach. You can try to train them and improve them, but that’s been there from the first day.”
  • Shooting guard Rodney Hood has lost his starting job to Mitchell but he’s handling it well, as Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News relays. Hood still leads the team in scoring and accepts his new role as the top option on the second unit. “Just being a professional and not taking a step back and don’t think nothing less of myself,” Hood told Woodyard. “I know I can play with the best of them, regardless of when I’m getting in I’ve got to put in work so that’s how I approach it.”

Rudy Gobert Expected To Miss 4-6 Weeks

3:16pm: The Jazz have issued an official update of their own, confirming that an MRI on Gobert’s right knee revealed a “tibia contusion.” The veteran center will be reevaluated in four weeks, according to the team.

3:11pm: Jazz center Rudy Gobert is expected to be sidelined for about four to six weeks with a bone bruise in his right knee, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical. TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link) reported the same timeline, citing a source.

Gobert suffered the injury on Friday against Miami and missed Saturday’s game against Brooklyn. The injury occurred on a play in which the big man collided with Heat guard Dion Waiters, and Gobert suggested after the game that he felt like it was a “dirty play” on Waiters’ part, as Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News details.

“He just dove right into my knee,” Gobert said.

Gobert, 25, had been his usual effective self early in the 2017/18 season, averaging 13.9 PPG, 10.5 RPG, and a league-high 2.5 BPG for the Jazz. In his absence, Derrick Favors, who recorded 24 points and 12 rebounds on Saturday, may have an opportunity for a larger role. Ekpe Udoh and Jonas Jerebko could also see more minutes, and rookie center Tony Bradley might even have a chance to see some playing time.

Jazz Notes: Udoh, Exum, Ingles

The Jazz have been impressed with the production they’ve seen out of backup big man Ekpe Udoh, Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News writes. The 30-year-old returned to the NBA this offseason after spending the last two campaigns abroad.

It’s great, when I’m on the bench, I’m able to relax,” Rudy Gobert, the man ahead of Udoh in the depth chart, said. “When you have someone who plays defense like he does, you know the team is in good hands. He makes us better as a team.

Through five games this season, Udoh has blocked an impressive 2.4 shots per. Gobert, perhaps the league’s most vaunted defensive big man, has averaged just 2.2 despite playing nearly 20 more minutes per contest.

It’s not just the gaudy per-36 statline that has the Jazz organization impressed. Head coach Quin Snyder sees Udoh’s length and competitiveness as valued intangibles as well.

There’s more news out of Utah:

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