Before Saturday’s practice, some of Thompson’s teammates hung a No. 77 jersey in his locker. Warriors forward Draymond Green posted two short videos on his Instagram stories of the jersey hanging in Thompson’s locker and then another video of Thompson sporting the jersey while walking around the Warriors’ weight room.
When prompted by Green to give a message to the fans, Thompson, who posted a couple of times recently on social media about how disappointed he was to not be named to the list, took the good-natured ribbing in stride.
“77!” Thompson said. “Best player of all time, baby!”
“Get the new jersey!” Warriors star Stephen Curry said with a laugh. “New jersey alert!”
Thompson has missed the past two seasons as he continues to recover from a torn left ACL suffered in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals and a torn right Achilles suffered on Nov. 18, 2020.
“I didn’t know what it meant at first,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after practice. “And then somebody explained it. I thought that was quite, quite funny.”
Kerr thought it was a good sign that Thompson was able to joke around about the snub despite being disappointed. The reason the jersey was No. 77 and not No. 76 was because the NBA announced there was a tie in the voting, adding an extra player and making it a 76-player list.
“You have to have humor with everything,” Kerr said. “His teammates obviously got that done to have a laugh with him but I think all these guys, they’re so competitive by nature, they wouldn’t have made it this far if they weren’t really competitive. And at some point guys latch onto things to drive them. Klay has accomplished pretty much everything. He’s a multi-time champion, multi-time All-Star, one of the great three-point shooters ever. He’s already competitive, but if that’s what it takes to make him more competitive then we’ll take it.”
Kerr had an idea as to which one of the Warriors players might have been the brains behind the jersey operation.
“I’m guessing Steph,” Kerr said. “But I can’t confirm that. It’s a guess.”
Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis a game-time decision vs. Miami Heat on Sunday after 16-game absence
MIAMI — Anthony Davis, out for the last five weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee, has been upgraded to questionable for the Los Angeles Lakers‘ game against the Miami Heat on Sunday and is considered a game-time decision, according to the team.
“Whenever AD is ready, we’re going to love that, that’s for sure,” LeBron James said of Davis on Friday. “I mean he’s one of our biggest guns that we have, and having him on the floor, it just creates so much for us offensively and defensively, able to do so much more. But his health is what’s most important, and once we know that he’s healthy, he knows that he’s healthy, we get him back on the floor, and then we start getting his wind and his rhythm.”
Davis was averaging 23.3 points on 52.1% shooting, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals this season prior to the injury. His jump shot, however, had been off. Davis is shooting just 60-for-185 (32%) on shots outside the paint this season, according to NBA.com.
Davis has used the rehabilitation to work on not only his knee but his shot mechanics as well, sources told ESPN.
Davis had been eyeing the Lakers’ six-game road trip to return, as ESPN reported last week, and his presence could certainly help his team that has absorbed reports about Frank Vogel’s job security and Russell Westbrook‘s role in his absence.
If Davis makes his return against Miami, it could evoke warm memories for the Lakers big man. Davis averaged 25 points and 12.8 rebounds in the 2020 NBA Finals, downing the Heat in six games en route to his first championship.
Damian Lillard, content to ‘make decisions that suit you for the long haul,’ slowly works his way back to Portland Trail Blazers’ lineup
Lillard finally took his fellow Olympian’s advice and had the procedure Jan. 13. The Portland Trail Blazers‘ star point guard spoke to reporters Saturday for the first time since the injury sidelined him on Jan. 3.
Holiday, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks, had similar core surgery during the 2018-19 NBA season when he was with New Orleans. He and Lillard were teammates in Japan last summer on the gold-medal-winning U.S. team.
“He was the first person that pretty much confirmed that I needed to have surgery, because I sat out of practice one day and I was like, ‘I can’t move,’ and I was kind of just holding it. And he just started describing every single symptom,” Lillard said. “And he was like, ‘I had it.'”
Lillard, a six-time All-Star, averaged 24 points and 7.3 assists in 29 games this season for the Blazers. It was clear from the start that the injury — lower abdominal tendinopathy — was bothersome.
“It was just one of those things where I’ve always had control over how I moved and everything, and it had reached a point where my body couldn’t do what my mind wanted it to do and go places that I wanted it to go,” he said. “At some point you’ve got to play chess; you’ve got to make decisions that suit you for the long haul and not just right now.”
While the injury flared up in Tokyo, Lillard said he first felt the abdominal pain in 2015, and it had been gradually getting worse ever since.
The Blazers have struggled without Lillard, the undisputed leader of the team. Playing under first-year coach Chauncey Billups, Portland is 19-26 and in 10th place in the Western Conference.
Anfernee Simons has taken over as Portland’s point guard and has averaged 15.1 points per game. Portland was also playing for an extended period without Lillard’s backcourt teammate CJ McCollum, who had a collapsed right lung before becoming a father for the first time.
There was no timeline for Lillard’s return, but he’s already been doing yoga. The team previously said he would be reevaluated in six weeks.
“I’m just a week from surgery. We said we’ll reevaluate my situation weeks out, six to eight weeks, and we’ll talk about it then. But I’m not in a rush,” he said. “My No. 1 goal is to win a championship. I’ve got to be in the best form of myself to make that happen and to be a part of that. So I’m not in a rush. We’ll talk about whatever that timeline is when we get to that point.”
The Trail Blazers, as play began on Saturday night, occupied the 10th spot in the Western Conference race. They were two games ahead of the Sacramento Kings.
Lillard was asked if he’d play if the Blazers decided to forgo a playoff push and play for a draft pick.
“I mean, if we’re gonna play for a draft pick, it wouldn’t make sense to me. Because I’m not gonna play for no draft pick. I’m just not capable of that,” he said. “So it’d be best if that was what we were doing, or what was decided, then it wouldn’t make sense for me to play.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Chicago Bulls G Alex Caruso to have surgery for fractured wrist, out 6 to 8 weeks, says team
Caruso suffered the injury during the Bulls loss to the Bucks Friday night in Milwaukee. Caruso was fouled hard by the Bucks’ Grayson Allen who was assessed a flagrant two foul and ejected from the game.
Caruso will miss six-to-eight weeks, the team announced
Caruso went up for a layup on a fast break with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter, but Allen hooked Caruso’s right arm, turning Caruso in the air and sending him hard to the floor on his right wrist. Caruso said his wrist was “a little banged up” after the game, but X-rays came back negative.
“Dude just grabbed me out of the air,” Caruso said after Friday’s game. “It’s kind of bulls—. I don’t know what else you can do about it. I’m just glad that I didn’t have any major scary injuries right away.”
Caruso said his wrist continued to bother him in the second half, especially while shooting. He finished 1-of-6 from the field for 3 points in the second half, but said he did not think the injury would linger long term.
Caruso added that Allen did not come to check on him following the play.
The foul particularly irked Bulls coach Billy Donovan, who is normally mild-mannered and rarely singles out players. But following Friday’s game, Donovan called Allen’s actions dangerous and cited his history playing college basketball at Duke.
“For Alex to be in the air and for [Allen] to take him down like that, he could’ve ended his career,” Donovan said. “He has a history of this. That to me was really — it was really dangerous. I hope the league takes a hard look at something like that because that could have really, really seriously hurt him.”
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