Derrick Rose Suffers Ankle Injury vs. Bucks; Unlikely to Play Against Magic

In a refrain that’s become all too common over the past five years, Derrick Rose is hurt once again. 

Per Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue announced Rose suffered a sprained ankle during Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks and is unlikely to play tomorrow against the Orlando Magic. Jose Calderon is expected to start against the Magic.  

Lue added Rose’s injury “doesn’t look good.” The 29-year-old played well on Friday with 12 points on 3-of-4 shooting in 23 minutes before leaving the game. 

Rose has been hounded by lower-body injuries since he first tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs, and last season was no exception. 

Although he appeared in 64 games—his second-most since the start of the 2013-14 campaign—his season was cut short due to a torn meniscus in his left knee. 

On the heels of his lone season with the New York Knicks, Rose was off to a solid start in his new home. He scored 14 points against the Boston Celtics in the season opener. 

Calderon has yet to appear in a game for the Cavs after playing just 41 games for the Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Lakers last season. The 12-year veteran has averaged 9.6 points and 6.2 assists per game in his career. 

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Elfrid Payton Leaves Magic vs. Nets Game with Hamstring Injury

Orlando Magic point guard Elfrid Payton is on the bench after suffering an injury to his hamstring in Friday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.        

Per Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, Payton was diagnosed with a strained left hamstring and will not play in the second half. 

Payton has been one of Orlando’s most durable players over the past three seasons, missing a total of nine games. The 2016-17 campaign was the most productive of his career, as he averaged career highs in scoring (12.8 PPG) and rebounding (4.7 RPG), along with a career-best 47.1 percent shooting. 

He built off that performance in the 2017-18 season opener against the Miami Heat on Wednesday at the Amway Center with 13 points and nine assists. 

The Magic lacked any sort of identity on offense last season, ranking 27th in scoring and 29th in efficiency last season, per Basketball Reference. Payton has given them some reason for hope at the point guard spot moving forward, though he still lacks range with his shot (29.2 percent from three-point range).

Orlando has depth at the position, though. Shelvin Mack and D.J. Augustin are capable veterans with extensive resumes as starters or backups. 

Even though the Magic are still trying to get something from Payton after he was a top-10 pick in 2014, his absence forces head coach Frank Vogel to try to piece together production from Mack and Augustin.

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Dennis Smith Jr. Won’t Play for Mavericks vs. Kings Due to Knee Injury

Dallas Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. will miss Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings due to a knee injury. 

Per Mavs beat writer Earl K. Sneed, the team announced that Smith would be out with a left knee effusion before the start of Friday’s matchup

Drafted ninth overall by the Mavericks in June, Smith made his presence known with a strong summer league effort. The 19-year-old averaged 17.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals in six games during the exhibition season. 

He continued that strong play in the season opener against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday with 16 points and 10 assists in 30 minutes. 

With the Mavs coming off a disappointing 33-49 season, Smith is expected to play an integral role in the team’s present and future as the starting point guard. His absence will force head coach Rick Carlisle to rotate Devin Harris, J.J. Barea and Yogi Ferrell into the position. 

Even though Smith is going to be the engine that makes Dallas’ offense run, there is talent on the roster that can perform better than last season. Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki and Wesley Matthews are a solid starting trio. 

Smith’s performance this season will go a long way toward determining where the Mavs end up in the Western Conference, so losing him for any length of time is a huge setback for the team. 

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Joel Embiid Doesn’t Feel Like NBA Player Because He Doesn’t Play Back-to-Backs

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has been outspoken recently regarding minutes restrictions and the team’s conservative plan to keep him healthy, and he admitted frustration Friday when he disclosed he hasn’t yet been cleared to play in back-to-backs.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Keith Pompey. “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I don’t play back to backs.”

On Tuesday, Embiid didn’t hold back after he was informed head coach Brett Brown ballparked his initial minutes limit at “somewhere in the teens,” calling that estimation “f–king bulls–t,” per PhillyVoice’s Kyle Neubeck

However, Neubeck noted at the time that Embiid “said he trusts the doctors” and knows they’re thinking about his future.

As it turns out, Embiid played 27 minutes and piled up 18 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and a block in Wednesday evening’s 120-115 season-opening loss to the Washington Wizards

And while Embiid’s passion is impossible to deny—it’s what’s made him the face of the franchise despite making 32 appearances since 2014—the team’s desire to keep their $148 million man healthy as possible following a pair of season-ending foot surgeries and a meniscus tear is wholly understandable. 

If there’s good news for Embiid it’s that the Sixers only play 14 back-to-backs this season—down from 18 a season ago. 

However, he will have to sit out Saturday evening when the Sixers travel to Air Canada Centre for a showdown with the Toronto Raptors following Friday’s home opener versus the Boston Celtics

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Aaron Gordon Will Not Play vs. Nets Due to Ankle Injury

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon will not be in the lineup Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets due to a sore ankle, according to the Orlando Sentinel‘s Josh Robbins.

Gordon was plagued by a left foot fracture in his rookie season, but he’s otherwise been healthy during his time in Orlando. 

That trend held true last year when the 22-year-old averaged a career-high 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 0.8 steals on 45.4 percent shooting from the field as he transitioned to a new role as the Magic’s small forward. 

Now back in his more true position at the 4, Gordon looked solid in his 2017-18 debut as he rolled to 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocks against the Miami Heat

Gordon’s injury will hinder Orlando’s defensive versatility since he’s able to match up against wings and bigs, but his absence figures to open the door for No. 6 overall pick Jonathan Isaac to shine in extended minutes at the 4. 

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Julius Randle ‘Frustrated’ About Not Starting for Lakers, Says Luke Walton

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton told reporters forward Julius Randle has been “frustrated” by his move to the second unit.

“Obviously, he’s a little frustrated about the starting thing,” Walton said after Thursday’s 108-92 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center, according to Southern California News Group’s Bill Oram. 

“I’ve explained it’s not about whoever being better or playing better, it’s about what units play well,” Walton added. “And Julius was playing really with that second unit. Larry [Nance Jr.] was playing well with the first unit.”

Nance, who only made seven starts last season, saw considerably more playing time than Randle on Thursday night. In 30 minutes, the 2015 first-round pick tallied 14 points (7-of-11 shooting), 12 rebounds and a block. 

Randle, on the other hand, mustered nine points (4-of-8 shooting) and six rebounds in a truncated 18-minute stretch off the pine. 

“When he stepped on the court for whatever that he wasn’t ready to go like he has been for the past week (of practices),” Walton said of Randle. “So I pulled him out to tell him about it. I know he wasn’t happy with me but that’s my job.”

Randle started 133 of a possible 155 games during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, so it’s easy to see why a player long billed as a franchise cornerstone would be frustrated by Walton’s decision. 

But in order to validate his status as a blue-chipper who can grow alongside Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and the rest of the Lakers’ young core, Randle will have to embrace the opportunity in front of him and prove he can be a spark on both ends of the floor as the Purple and Gold attempt to discover their tactical identity in the months ahead. 

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‘The Full 48’ Podcast: Rachel Nichols Talks LeBron-Wade Relationship, More

Rachel Nichols from ESPN’s The Jump joins Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck to share a behind-the-scenes look at her recent sit-down with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. She also breaks down NBA player empowerment, the hype surrounding Lonzo Ball, players as active citizens as well as halftime entertainer Red Panda.

Subscribe to The Full 48 on iTunes here.

On what we didn’t see during the Wade-James interview

I really could’ve shown another 15 minutes of them kind of ripping on each other. 

They got into this extended debate in our interview of who was peanut butter and who was jelly. And as Dwyane Wade pointed out: Peanut butter’s consistent; peanut butter don’t miss games. So that was his argument of LeBron being peanut butter.


On James/Wade forging a friendship

You lose the way they lost in those first Finals against Dallas and they took their first vacation—their first of these famous vacations was right after those Finals—their wives basically rented a house and threw these boys together and said, “You work this out because we don’t want to deal with you all summer being miserable.”

And they said that they just sat around the table for the first day just depressed, they wouldn’t go outside, they wouldn’t do anything. If you let a friend—especially if you’re a proud athlete—and you let a friend see you that upset and that broken, and your confidence that shaken, and who are as a player and what you need to be…I think that makes you friends in a way you haven’t been before.


On why we see more friendships these days among NBA rivals

Players can be more socially outspoken now because they have more security and more ownership of their own careers. … Players can be more loyal to each other and have these friendships with each other as opposed to being categorized within a certain team and organization that we saw before because they have more ownership over themselves.


On why the NBA hasn’t had to deal with national anthem controversies

I think, first of all, they have been more activists and more outspoken, so it’s not as if the anthem is their shot. The NBA has been really great, I think, about not only letting players make statements but encouraging players to be active citizens. 

I think the NBA has supported their players wanting to make this a better country for more people, and I think having that forum has allowed NBA players to be more expressive on issues like racism or civil rights or homophobia or so many of the other things that cross sports in terms of our social issues. 

And then I think the second thing is that NBA players are very aware of what’s going on, and frankly, the anthem issue in this country has been hijacked. There’s just no question—you can’t argue with the facts that Colin Kaepernick started for sitting and then kneeling during the anthem about one thing, and then discussion has moved into a completely separate arena.

The NBA players I have talked to have said, “Hey, I don’t want to be anyone’s pawn in that second arena.”

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