Archive for September 30th, 2009

Delonte West skips two Cavs workouts

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West seems like a nice-enough guy, and he’s a talented combo guard, but the guy has some issues. Unfortunately, the Cavs now have a bit more of a distraction to deal with.

Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:

Delonte West skips two Cavs practices

West hit a new low Tuesday on the first day of training camp, skipping both of the team’s workouts. The absences were unexcused and caught the team off-guard after West reported to Monday’s media day. It has now left the Cavs immersed in a gray area of how to proceed with their talented but troubled guard.

“Delonte is in Cleveland,” Cavs General Manager Danny Ferry said in a statement. “He is addressing a personal matter and did not attend practice.”

According to a source, West was in his home for the day and did not leave to come to practice. There was no indication whether West was planning on coming to today’s workouts.

Whatever is going on, I hope Delonte is OK and not in some sort of bad situation beyond what everyone knows.

Less handshaking?

OCT. 2 UPDATE: This story is apparently inaccurate. No such anti-handshake directive has been passed down.

Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reports: The NBA, fearful of the damage an H1N1 flu outbreak could wreak on the league, has passed down an anti-handshake directive. Players and coaches have been asked to greet each other via more sanitary means of contact, like fist pounding, or maybe chest bumps. One can only imagine what Utah’s Jerry Sloan thinks about this. “No handshaking,” Doc Rivers said. “I think it’s a good thing. A fist pound is just great.”

InsideHoops.com editor says: Before I shake hands with a public figure these days, I pull out a giant spray-can of cleaning fluid and unleash a few gallons of it on him/her. Then while I shake hands with one hand I offer the celeb a towel with the other. It does the trick and keeps me healthy.

Tony Allen still healing

Boston Celtics shooting guard Tony Allen is taking a while to regain full health.

Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reports:

tony allen

A slower-than-expected recovery from ankle tendon surgery was given as the reason Allen didn’t scrimmage during yesterday’s practice at Salve Regina College.

Add the arrival of swingman Marquis Daniels to the picture and Allen has never been further down the depth chart.

“We were hoping Tony would be able to come along for training camp but he just wasn’t coming along as quickly as we wanted,” general manager Danny Ainge said. “We’ll take it week by week. He’s close. He’ll do things on the court, but he just won’t go live to come out of the gate. It puts him behind everyone until he can play. You have to remember that the most important ability is availability.”

All players need their athletic ability to be effective, but some need it more than others. Allen is one of those guys. So until he’s close to 100 percent he should probably remain out of action.

Al Jefferson slims down

Al Jefferson slims down

The AP reports: ”Big Al” isn’t quite as big these days, and that’s no accident for the Minnesota Timberwolves star as he returns from a major knee injury. A slimmer, trimmer Al Jefferson returned to full practice Tuesday for the first time in nearly eight months following surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee. He has lost 31 pounds in an effort to reduce the stress on his knees and get him ready to run in the new up-tempo offense that coach Kurt Rambis plans to install. ”It felt real good,” Jefferson said after the Timberwolves opened training camp in owner Glen Taylor’s hometown. ”It’s more about my lungs than anything. My knee felt great. Felt good to be back out here with the team.”

Nuggets declare Renaldo Balkman a small forward

Denver Nuggets forward Renaldo Balkman is an energy player. At 6-8 and around 210 pounds, he has no clear position. He’s not a shooting guard. And although he hits the boards and bangs like a power forward, he’s too small to really play the four-spot. Size-wise, he’s a small forward. So, even if he can’t shoot, from now on that’s what the Nuggets will consider him.

Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post reports:

This year, George Karl is making what he thinks is “a pretty drastic switch,” but it could be fruitful — Balkman is now a small forward.

Makes sense. No, Balkman can’t shoot like most small forwards, but as far as size, he’ll be a perfect fit defensively. And with Linas Kleiza no longer on the team, that opens up some minutes behind Carmelo Anthony — though it’s possible Karl could, at times, play a point guard alongside J.R. Smith and Arron Afflalo.

“We’re a little excited about seeing Balkman at small forward,” Karl said. “We’re going to give him a lot of minutes there in training camp. We would like, as we cut the roster down, to give him 15-20 minutes in the games at the two or three position.

Regardless of what position he’s playing, Balkman will do what he does, which is hustle and try to fill in the blanks and make things easier for teammates who have better-refined basketball skills.

Aaron Gray out 6-8 weeks

Chicago Bulls  center Aaron Gray developed lower leg pain over the last two days.  He was examined by team physician Dr. Brian Cole of Midwest Orthopedics at Rush University Medical Center and it was determined that he has a stress fracture of his left fibula.  The diagnosis was confirmed by MRI.  He is likely out 6-8 weeks.

The 7-0, 270-pound Gray is entering his third NBA season, playing each year with the Bulls.

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