Medical update on Nets guard Ben Simmons

Per the NY Post:

Nets point guard Ben Simmons has started feeling positive effects from the epidural he had in his back and has moved to the next phase of his rehab.

“He’s looking at, I think, in the matter of days to weeks, as opposed to weeks to months,” Simmons’ agent, Bernie Lee, told The Post.

Simmons, who hasn’t played since Nov. 6 and got the shot a little over a week ago, is doing aqua jogging — running in water. He’s working toward on-court activity.


Wizards sign Jules Bernard to two-way contract, waive John Butler Jr.

The Washington Wizards have signed guard Jules Bernard to a two-way contract.

And in a corresponding move, the team waived John Butler Jr.

Bernard has played in 39 games with the Capital City Go-Go over the past two seasons after being acquired via trade from the Motor City Cruise on December 23, 2022. Bernard finished the 2022-23 campaign appearing in 32 games for Capital City, averaging 15.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Bernard next appeared in the 2023 NBA Summer League and 2023 training camp with the Wizards before starting the season with the Go-Go. In eight games with Capital City this season, Bernard is averaging 21.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, with shooting splits of .475 from the field, .422 from three and .914 from the free throw line.

The UCLA product spent four years with the Bruins, averaging 9.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 130 career games. He went undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft before signing with the Detroit Pistons and eventually joining the Motor City Cruise to begin the 2022-23 season.

Raptors waive Ron Harper Jr., who will undergo season-ending surgery

The Toronto Raptors have waived two-way guard-forward Ron Harper Jr.

Harper, 6-foot-6, 233 pounds, averaged 2.0 points, 0.7 rebounds and 5.2 minutes in 10 career games with the Raptors after signing as an undrafted free agent prior to the 2022-23 season. He also appeared in 49 showcase and regular season games with Raptors 905, posting averages of 16.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 32.3 minutes.

Harper will undergo season-ending surgery next week after sustaining a subluxation of the left shoulder while with Raptors 905 in a game Dec. 7 at Long Island.

Toronto’s roster now stands at 15, with two two-way players.

Timberwolves injury updates on Jaden McDaniels and Jordan McLaughlin

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the following injury updates on forward Jaden McDaniels and guard Jordan McLaughlin.

McDaniels, who experienced a right ankle sprain at the 7:30 mark of the first quarter in the Nov. 20 117-100 victory over the New York Knicks, was re-evaluated by Dr. Kelechi Okohora and has been confirmed to be progressing well throughout his rehabilitation program with no setbacks. He has been cleared to participate in individual on-court player development basketball and strength training activities.

McLaughlin, who experienced a right knee MCL sprain in the third quarter of the Nov. 2 114-109 victory over the Boston Celtics, has been progressing well throughout his rehabilitation program with no setbacks. He has been cleared to participate in full, five-on-five on-court basketball activities.

Pelicans beat Kings in NBA In-Season Tournament quarterfinals

Per the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

The New Orleans Pelicans trailed the Sacramento Kings by 11 points when Jose Alvarado checked in midway through the first quarter. By the time Alvarado subbed back out, the Pelicans had not only erased that deficit — they had pulled ahead by six.

Alvarado came up with two steals and two blocks in his first stint on the floor. His energy plays helped shift the momentum of Monday’s game.

The Pelicans overcame a wobbly start to defeat the Kings 127-117 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. Their win in the first stage of the In-Season Tournament knockout round earned them a trip to Las Vegas. On Thursday, the Pelicans will face the winner of Tuesday’s game between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers in the In-Season Tournament semifinals…

Ingram poured in 17 of his 30 points after halftime. Ingram also chipped in with eight rebounds and six assists.


Pacers beat Celtics in NBA In-Season Tournament quarterfinals

Per the Boston Herald:

Aaron Nesmith took a transition pass from Tyrese Haliburton and dunked over Al Horford. The former Celtic galloped around the court and chest-pumped Myles Turner as the rest of his Pacers teammates flooded the court to celebrate an imminent victory.

The Celtics proved they cared about the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament with how they handled their final group stage game last week. They showed that mentality during stretches of Monday’s first ever quarterfinal game of the tournament. But ultimately, the moment meant more for the upstart Pacers.

In a playoff-like atmosphere, the C’s couldn’t get the job done on Monday night in Indiana. Jayson Tatum scored 32 points and Jaylen Brown added 30, but their worst habits haunted them again. They laid another dud in the third quarter. Too many turnovers piled up. And then the Pacers – led by rising superstar Tyrese Haliburton – raised their game to another level in the second half, as they handed the Celtics a 122-112 loss and sent them home from the In-Season Tournament.


Grizzlies sign Jaylen Nowell to second 10-day contract

The Memphis Grizzlies have signed guard Jaylen Nowell to a second 10-day contract.

Nowell (6-4, 201) has appeared in five games (one start) since initially signing a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies on Nov. 24 and has averaged 6.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 18.8 minutes. The 24-year-old scored a season-high 19 points off the bench in a road win over the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 1.

A native of Seattle who played collegiately at Washington, Nowell has appeared in 189 regular season games (four starts) in five NBA seasons with the Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves since he was selected 43rd overall in the 2019 NBA Draft. He has played 29 career NBA G League games for the Iowa Wolves (2019-20) and Stockton Kings (2023-24).

Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant placed in concussion protocol

Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol.

Grant left Saturday night’s game at Utah during the fourth quarter and did not return.

Per the NBA’s Concussion Policy, Grant will now begin the NBA-mandated Return-to-Participation Protocol. This process includes a series of steps designed to ensure an athlete exhibits symptom-free behavior before resuming basketball activities. There is no predetermined timetable to complete the protocol, as each injury and player is different and recovery time can vary in each case.

Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis to miss In-Season Tournament quarterfinals game

Per the Boston Herald:

Kristaps Porzingis will miss the Celtics’ In-Season Tournament quarterfinal game against the Pacers in Indiana as he continues to nurse his left calf injury, the team announced.

Porzingis initially suffered the ankle injury on Nov. 24 in the Celtics’ loss to the Magic, when he left the game in the third quarter and didn’t return. Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said last Monday that he would be re-evaluated in a week.