T.J. Warren

COVID-19 Updates: G. Hill, Budenholzer, Warren, F. Jackson, More

The Bucks received good news today, as veteran George Hill and head coach Mike Budenholzer have both cleared the health and safety protocols, Eric Nehm of The Athletic reports (Twitter links).

However, the team did place one more player in the protocols: Langston Galloway. Galloway’s 10-day contract expires on Sunday night, so it’s possible he’ll no longer be a Buck by the time he exits the protocols.

Here are more COVID-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Pacers forward T.J. Warren has exited the protocols, James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star tweets. Unfortunately, Warren is still sidelined as he recovers from foot surgery.
  • Pistons guard Frank Jackson has exited the protocols but needs to wait a couple days to recondition. He might return Sunday against the Suns, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets.
  • Robert Woodard has entered the protocols for the Kings, according to James Ham of ESPN 1320 (Twitter link).
  • Heat forward Markieff Morris has exited the protocols but needs time to recondition, tweets Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
  • Two-way rookie Ish Wainright has exited the protocols for the Suns, but is listed as questionable for Friday’s contest against Indiana due to reconditioning, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (via Twitter).
  • Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson has entered the protocols, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
  • Marcus Smart of the Celtics is listed as questionable for Friday’s game against Philadelphia due to the protocols, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). Based on his status, Smart may have returned an inconclusive test, so we’ll have to wait for an update to see if he’ll actually be sidelined or not.

Central Notes: Williams, Bol, Cavs, Warren, Stephenson

Bulls forward Patrick Williams has replaced the cast on his left arm with a removable brace, head coach Billy Donovan told Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago and other media members. Williams’ rehab from wrist surgery will now focus on rebuilding strength and regaining range of motion in the injured wrist and forearm. His timetable was initially projected to be four-to-six months after he underwent the surgery in late October.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The trade that sent Bol Bol from Denver to the Pistons is now official. According to the Detroit Free Press’ Omari Sankofa II, Bol could be an intriguing pickup for a team in need of a young big. He’s got enough talent to become a core piece for the organization, so he was worth taking a flier on before he heads into free agency this summer, Sankofa adds.
  • The Cavaliers are expected to be active in the trade market, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on NBA Today last week that he could “almost guarantee” Cleveland would make another deal beyond the acquisition of Rajon Rondo. The team is seeking perimeter and guard help and is talking to three or four different teams about scenarios, Windhorst added.
  • The Pacers are still awaiting the season debut of forward T.J. Warren and it won’t happen this week, James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star tweets. According to coach Rick Carlisle, Warren is “still weeks away, if things continue to progress as they have been.” Warren is recovering from a foot fracture.
  • Lance Stephenson‘s reunion with the Pacers has exceeded all expectations, Wheat Hotchkiss of the team’s website notes. Playing on a 10-day contract that expires tonight, Stephenson had a 30-point game and a 14-assist outing. Stephenson is expected to sign a standard rest-of-the-season contract.

COVID-19 Updates: Magic, Trail Blazers, Rockets, Pacers

Here are the latest updates on players and coaches entering and exiting the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols:

  • Four Magic players have cleared the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and will suit up for Orlando against the Celtics. The team has announced (Twitter link) that center Mohamed Bamba, shooting guard Mychal Mulder, swingman Terrence Ross and point guard Hassani Gravett are all now available.
  • Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups, who has been unavailable since December 27, has exited the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Portland lead assistant Scott Brooks, who had been serving in Billups’s stead as acting head coach, has entered COVID-19 protocols, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hardship signee Cameron McGriff has entered the protocols, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter). Combo guard Anfernee Simons has left protocols after just three days, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The 13-22 Trail Blazers could certainly use all the help they can get, and the return of the 6’3″ guard will help shore up a team still missing seven players to health and safety protocols, with McGriff now replacing Simons in coronavirus protocols.
  • Rockets wing Garrison Mathews has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Houston rewarded Mathews for a solid performance early in the 2021/22 season by converting his two-way contract into a fresh four-year, $8MM deal last month.
  • Pacers small forwards Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren, plus center Goga Bitadze, have entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Warren has been dealing with a major foot injury since the start of 2020/21, and has only played in four games over the past two seasons. Today’s news brings Indiana’s total count for players in protocols to eight.
  • After exiting the protocols on Friday, Pistons guard Cory Joseph has re-entered them, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News.

Pacers Rumors: Simmons, Turner, Sabonis, Duarte, Jackson

The Pacers are considered the NBA team most likely to make a significant move on the trade market, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. However, Fischer says there’s a leaguewide skepticism that Indiana will embark on a full-fledged rebuild after hiring head coach Rick Carlisle to a four-year contract just months ago.

“Carlisle is not going to allow that to happen,” one assistant general manager told Bleacher Report. “They’re going to ‘middle build.’ They’re going to go with a sense of competing.”

As Fischer observes, a deal for 25-year-old star Ben Simmons would be the sort of big move the Pacers could make if they want to look toward the future while remaining competitive in the present. But none of Indiana’s top trade chips is the kind of star the Sixers would covet as the centerpiece as a Simmons deal. If the Pacers make a serious push for Simmons, they may have to loop in a third team, Fischer writes.

Here’s more on the Pacers from Fischer:

  • As Shams Charania reported on Monday, the expectation among rival executives is that the Pacers will move one of their standout big men – Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis – but not both. Fischer says Indiana may ultimately make its decision based on which player commands a higher return, which suggests the team doesn’t strongly prefer one over the other.
  • Although Turner has been involved in trade rumors for years, the Pacers have always highly valued him, according to Fischer, who hears from sources that the club turned down a Pelicans offer that included the No. 4 pick in the 2019 draft. That pick was eventually sent to the Hawks, who drafted De’Andre Hunter.
  • Sabonis’ value around the NBA is mixed, but Fischer names the Trail Blazers as one team that may be interested. Fischer also mentions the Kings, pointing out that Carlisle thinks highly of Harrison Barnes, but a Monday report indicated Sacramento hasn’t pursued Sabonis or Turner at all this season.
  • Malcolm Brogdon can’t be traded this season after recently signing an extension. But besides Brogdon, rookies Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson are viewed by rival executives as the only Pacers players who are probably off-limits in trade talks. “Sabonis, Turner, (T.J.) Warren, (and Caris) LeVert all can be had at the right price,” another assistant GM told Fischer.
  • In other Pacers news, the team has assigned center Goga Bitadze to the G League for the first time this season, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. As Agness points out, Bitadze has been out of Indiana’s rotation for weeks and could use some reps with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Pacers Open To Roster Shakeup, Intend To Be Active On Trade Market

After getting off to a slow start this season, the Pacers have become receptive to the idea of pivoting to a rebuild and trading multiple veterans, sources tell Shams Charania and Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. According to The Athletic’s duo, the team intends to be “very active” prior to the February 10 trade deadline.

Charania and Kravitz identify swingman Caris LeVert and big men Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis as some of the Pacers’ potential trade candidates. All three players have generated “significant interest” from rival teams, per The Athletic’s sources. It’s unclear if Indiana would be willing to move both Turner and Sabonis or just one of the two, but Charania and Kravitz suggest a breakup of the two centers “now appears on the horizon.”

T.J. Warren, who is on an expiring contract, could also theoretically be a trade chip, but he continues to recover from a foot injury and has told team management that he’d like to remain in Indianapolis, sources tell Charania and Kravitz. Malcolm Brogdon is ineligible to be traded this year after recently signing an extension.

The Pacers would like to open up more playing time for rookies Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson. The team raved about Jackson during the preseason and Duarte has quickly become a favorite of head coach Rick Carlisle, according to The Athletic.

Pacers owner Herb Simon, who is 87 years old, has historically resisted the idea of rebuilding due to concerns that any extended period of losing could substantially hurt attendance in one of the NBA’s smaller markets. However, with the Pacers already second-last in the league in attendance this season, Simon – apparently recognizing that it can’t get much worse – has become more willing to get on board with a rebuild, per Charania and Kravitz.

The Athletic’s duo clarifies that the Pacers don’t intend to embark on a years-long “tankathon” akin to the Sixers’ “Process,” but president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and the front office are prepared to make some major roster changes and look ahead to the future after starting the season with a 10-16 record (13th in the East).

It’s worth noting that Indiana has been hurt this season by poor showings in crunch-time minutes and perhaps isn’t as bad as that 10-16 record suggests. Despite missing Warren – their top scorer in the 2020 Orlando bubble – the Pacers have a positive point differential through their first 26 games. However, even with some better late-game luck and a healthy Warren, the current roster probably doesn’t have the upside to legitimately contend for a title.

Rival teams aren’t sure how soon the Pacers will be ready to make deals, according to Charania and Kravitz. The expectation is that the front office will exercise patience and wait for the best offers to materialize, so it’s possible Indiana won’t do anything major until closer to the deadline. Trade talks around the league figure to start picking up a little next Wednesday, when more than 100 players become newly trade-eligible.

Injury Notes: Adebayo, Jalen Green, Warren, McConnell, Towns, Porzingis

Heat star Bam Adebayo says he’s always been a positive person, but after learning of the thumb injury that will sideline him for roughly six weeks, he understandably had a tough day on Wednesday, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald relays.

I’m not the type of person that will put out negative energy. So I always think positive. But today was a downer,” Adebayo said after watching Wednesday’s lopsided loss to the Cavaliers. “But for these six weeks, I can’t change nothing about it. That’s my only option.”

Coach Erik Spoelstra says there’s no way to replace what Adebayo does for Miami and the team needs to weather the storm until it gets healthier.

We need a little bit of time just to assess everything and formulate a new plan, a new direction,” Spoelstra said. “… Collectively as a group, we’ll make the necessary adjustments. When you lose an All-Star player, it’s never easy. But this is the league.

When I look around the league, I see a lot of teams dealing with injuries and guys out and guys coming back. There’s a lot of that going on right now and we just have to weather the storm and recalibrate and figure out a new plan, new direction, which our guys are very capable of doing.

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Rockets coach Stephen Silas says rookie Jalen Green isn’t close to returning from his strained hamstring, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “Nothing really new,” Silas said on Friday. “He is still injured. He is progressing in a good manner but slowly. We’re just going to continue to evaluate week-by-week. But he’s not going to play any time soon.”
  • Pacers guard T.J. McConnell, who was previously said to be out “a while,” is wearing a cast and is now expected to be out for “weeks, not days” according to coach Rick Carlisle, the team announced (via Twitter). The Pacers also tweeted that T.J. Warren will not be playing in December, per Carlisle. He will have more scans on his foot at the end of month or in early January. Warren has yet to play a game this season after playing in just four games last season.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns missed Friday’s game for the Timberwolves with a tailbone contusion, the team announced (Twitter link). Towns had a hard fall late Wednesday night. He did warm up for the game, which is a good sign that it should be a short-term injury.
  • Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis was also sidelined for Friday’s game, per a team public relations announcement (via Twitter). He has a knee contusion. It’s unclear how long he might be out.

Injury Notes: Towns, Butler, Morris, Warren, Wood, KPJ

Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns hopefully avoided a major injury Wednesday night, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter).

Towns fell on his lower back after slipping off the rim after a dunk. However, Woj says X-Rays on Towns’ lower back came back clean. We’ll have to wait and see if there’s an update from the team to determine if Towns might be sidelined.

Here are some more injury notes:

  • Heat star Jimmy Butler (tailbone) missed his second consecutive game Wednesday night against the Cavs and it sounds like he could miss more time. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel tweets that he’s likely to miss the back-to-back games Friday and Saturday against the Pacers and Bucks.
  • Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters there’s still no update on Markieff Morris, who has now missed 12 games in a row with whiplash, per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).
  • Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said that scans on T.J. Warren‘s foot had positive results, but there’s still no timeline for his return, the team announced (via Twitter).
  • Rockets starters Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. were both injured in Wednesday night’s game against the Thunder and did not return. Wood suffered a sprained ankle, while KPJ has a left thigh contusion, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Injury Notes: Fultz, Isaac, Embiid, Harris, Iguodala, Warren

Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac are progressing towards a return to the court for the Magic, writes Dan Savage on the team’s website.

Isaac initially injured his knee in January of 2020, missed several months, and then returned during the Orlando bubble before suffering a torn ACL in August of 2020. Fultz also sustained a torn left ACL, in January of 2021, eight games into last season.

Although Fultz’ injury occurred five months later, it appears he’s closer to making his season debut. President Jeff Weltman says the point guard has begun practicing with the team’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic.

As they have their occasional checkups with doctors, and they have imaging, I can just tell you they’re both moving forward and they’re doing great,” Weltman explained. “I can tell you that Markelle, we just sent him down this week to start practicing with Lakeland because they’ll have more live-action situations than we’ll have in the middle of an NBA season. So, he’s starting to ramp up to that phase where he’s actually starting to get involved in some live action. Jonathan isn’t at that point yet, but he continues to make great, steady progress and they’re both doing really well.”

Fultz says he feels good and is eager to return to the NBA court.

I’m very excited with where I am at and where I am going,” he explained. “It’s the next step in the process. When I first got injured, it was all about steps. Knowing it’s going to be a long journey but taking it one step at a time. Right now, I’m in the process of getting back into things, bumping, and getting up and down. Getting my conditioning right. Like I said, I feel really good.”

Weltman says Isaac is working to gain strength in his entire body, not just rehab his knee, and has improved his shot during his long hiatus.

It’s everything. There’s a right way to do this and the most important thing for Jonathan is not just that we address the injury, but his whole body,” Weltman said. “He’s missed essentially two years of action and there’s a lot that comes with that. So, making sure that his body is balanced, that it’s strengthened everywhere, that his core is tight. In the meantime, he’s using the time very productively. His body is filling out, his shot looks way improved from the last time he was on the court, and he’s in a really good place.”

Neither player has a timetable for return. There are some more interesting quotes in the article for Magic fans curious about how the two players are doing.

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Joel Embiid (COVID recovery) and Tobias Harris (hip) are both questionable for the Sixers‘ home game tomorrow against Minnesota, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter).
  • Andre Iguodala is traveling with the Warriors on their road trip, but he’s not expected to play against the Clippers (Sunday) or Suns (Tuesday), according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Iguodala is still dealing with swelling around his right knee, although it’s not considered serious.
  • T.J. Warren has been doing some light court work and shooting with the Pacers recently, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. There should be another update on his status next Tuesday, Nov. 30.

Central Notes: Okoro, Dosunmo, White, Warren

Second-year Cavaliers wing Isaac Okoro continues to recover from the strained left hamstring that has caused him to sit for seven straight games. A source tells Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com that, provided he continues trending in the right direction, Okoro could be in line for a return as soon as Wednesday against the Wizards.

Fedor adds that Okoro could merit consideration as Cleveland head coach J.B. Bickerstaff‘s choice to replace injured guard Collin Sexton in the club’s starting lineup. Sexton will be sidelined for a while with a meniscus tear. The Cavaliers have not yet determined a timeline for Sexton’s recuperation, as that hinges on whether or not the tear will need to be surgically repaired.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Rookie Bulls shooting guard Ayo Dosunmu, the No. 38 pick in the 2021 draft out of Illinois, has carved out serious rotation minutes for a depleted roster so far. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders just how long Dosunmu will be able to stick in Chicago’s lineup. Cowley notes that Dosunmu has displaced swingman Troy Brown Jr., the No. 15 pick in the 2019 draft out of Oregon, in the club’s rotation. Dosunmu has averaged 17.8 MPG across the team’s last five contests. ‘‘He’s got the ‘it’ factor,” head coach Billy Donovan raved. ‘‘And he’s got a great drive. He’s incredibly motivated.”
  • The Bulls have announced (via Twitter) that they have assigned third-year combo guard Coby White to their NBA G League club, the Windy City Bulls. White suffered a left shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery over the summer, and has yet to play in a game this season for a revamped Chicago roster.
  • Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle is taking the long view when it comes to determining a recovery timeline for small forward T.J. Warren, according to James Boyd of Yahoo Sports. Warren has missed all but four games of the last two seasons due to a left foot injury. “I know that there’s some stuff out there that’s talking about a timeline for him to return possibly late December or January,” Carlisle said. “This has turned into more of a long-term thing. I just think it’s unfair to an athlete, you know, to be put up against a timeline like this. He’s doing phenomenally well compared to where he was nine or 10 weeks ago.”

Pacers Hoping For Late-December Return For T.J. Warren?

The Pacers are hoping that injured forward T.J. Warren will be able to return to action sometime in late December or January, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Warren, who missed all but four games during the 2020/21 season due to a navicular left foot stress fracture, remained sidelined indefinitely this fall, as his recovery progressed a little slower than initially anticipated.

However, the Pacers provided a positive update on the 28-year-old last week — Warren got out of his walking boot and head coach Rick Carlisle expressed optimism that his return date was “weeks, but hopefully not months” away. Charania’s report lines up with that projection. If Warren can get back on the court sometime in late December, it’ll be less than two months since Carlisle made his comments.

Warren was one of the stars of the NBA’s Orlando bubble in 2020, averaging 31.0 PPG in six regular season games at Walt Disney World, boosting his season-long scoring rate to a career-best 19.8 PPG during his first year in Indiana. He put up a scorching-hot .536/.403/.819 shooting line in 67 games in 2020/21.

Getting Warren back would provide a nice boost to a Pacers team that is off to a sluggish start (4-7) in ’21/22.