SH Blog: Howard “not even close” to being in shape; Collins misses Harkless

Here’s Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Warriors center Andrew Bogut didn’t fly with the team from Oakland as it started its final extended road trip of the season Saturday because of a disc protrusion that is causing back spasms, according to team officials. The 7-foot, 260-pounder played only 12 of the team’s first 54 games because of left ankle surgery and missed Friday’s overtime win against NBA-leading San Antonio after his back started acting up. He missed 43 games with a stress fracture in his lower back in 2008-09, a game in 2009-10 with a mid-back strain and five games in 2010-11 with a sore back. The Warriors say there is no real timetable for Bogut’s return, but they’re holding out hope that he can join the team at some point during their five-game trip.”

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune brings us this Kevin Love update: “Wolves forward Kevin Love said he is still pointed towards a return that would allow him to play in “15 to 20 games’’ this season. If that is the case, that would mean a mid- to late-March return.  He is going to have a checkup with the surgeon either late in the first week of March or early in the second week. Love fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand Jan. 3 at Denver. It was the second time he had sustained such a break, the first coming during the preseason when he broke two bones  doing knuckle pushups at his home. … Love said his hand feels better at the same point of rehab than it did the first time. Indeed, he said, he probably should have had surgery the first time around. ‘In hindsight, yes,’ he said. ‘But the doctor said I didn’t necessarily need it. This time it was a clean break.’ But his range of motion is better, as is the hand’s strength, compared with the first time. He is lifting weights and working on range of motion. There is still some swelling in his hand, as well as scar tissue he said needs to be worked out. But he expects to comeback better this time, he said, especially when it comes to his shot, which was a problem in his first return from the injury.”
  • Here’s Mike Tokito of The Oregonian on the Blazers’ new point guard, Eric Maynor: “Although he leaves a team many expect to get to the NBA Finals for a second consecutive season, Maynor joins a Portland team eager to have him. Maynor had lost his spot in the Thunder’s rotation as the backup point guard, but Blazers coach Terry Stotts has already given Maynor the backup role behind Rookie of the Year favorite Damian Lillard. ‘I’m looking forward to it, coming in here and playing with a good bunch of guys,’ Maynor said. ‘They’ve got a great coaching staff, I’m looking forward to the minutes. I’m looking forward to playing.’ While his new teammates were playing the Lakers on Friday, Maynor was in Portland taking a physical, and the team also gave him a DVD of all of it plays. On Saturday, he practiced with the Blazers for the first time. ‘It seems like he has a high basketball IQ,’ Stotts said. ‘He’s picking up a lot of things that we run. I think he’ll have a quick learning curve.’ “
  • Ian Begley of has injury updates on a couple of the Knicks’ big men: “Rasheed Wallace participated in parts of Knicks practice on Saturday. After the workout, Mike Woodson said the veteran forward is “a ways away” from returning to the floor.  Marcus Camby also participated in Saturday’s practice. Woodson said Camby is closer to returning than Wallace but he didn’t have a definitive timetable for either player’s return. ‘We just hope there won’t be any setbacks,’ Woodson said.”
  • It’s obviously a rebuilding year for the Suns, but making things even tougher is Michael Beasley’s run of poor performances. Paul Coro of USA Today talks about that issue: “Nine seconds after subbing into Friday night’s game, Beasley said he injured his left elbow while fouling Jeff Green. He took an X-ray and iced it at halftime but returned for a five-minute stint that included a tough-love talk from interim coach Lindsey Hunter at the quarter break and a quick hook after an air ball left Hunter staring at him with his mouth open. Beasley left the floor and headed for the locker room but said Saturday that it was to get treatment. He practiced fully Saturday but his rotation spot is in danger with the arrival of Marcus Morris, another small forward. ‘I probably shouldn’t have went out there the second half because it was stiff and I got hit one more time,’ Beasley said. ‘That’s the reasons for my air ball. I’ve been getting pulled out and having bad games all season. That was definitely not the reason (for leaving the court). My elbow was hurting.’ … Asked if Morris would take Beasley’s time because of Beasley’s struggles, Hunter said, ‘Yeah, I mean if somebody doesn’t produce, then we’ve got to find somebody that will. That’s just what it is. It’s no knock on any person.’ “
  • Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News has a really good story on Joe Johnson’s mother Diane and her struggles with cancer. You should read the whole thing, of course, but here’s an excerpt: “With all that was scary about cancer for Diane Johnson, breaking the news to her only child seemed just as terrifying as coming to grips with the fatal disease. So Diane kept it from Joe Johnson for over a year. She waited until she couldn’t wait any longer, until the physical effects of the steroid treatments were too obvious to hide. ‘I didn’t want him to know because at the time I was diagnosed the season just got started,’ Diane says. ‘And I knew he was getting ready for that. I kind of had to come clean and tell him exactly what was going on. I told him I had a blood disorder.’ “

    Dan Malone is a third-year journalism student at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He blogs, edits and learns things on the fly for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter.

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