NBA Notes: Kobe goes overseas for procedure

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NBA Notes: Kobe goes overseas for procedure

LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant is heading overseas to have a medical procedure unrelated to the torn Achilles tendon he sustained in April.

The Los Angeles Lakers said Thursday that Bryant is expected to return early next week.

He went to Germany twice in 2011 for a procedure on his sore right knee and a sore left ankle that bothered him at the time.

The Los Angeles Times on Thursday cited people with knowledge of the situation as saying that Bryant was going to Germany this time. He was having a knee procedure that involves removing blood from the affected area and spinning it in a centrifuge. Molecules that cause inflammatory responses are then removed to create a serum that is injected back into the affected area (see full story).

Blazers: Aldridge has hip injury
PORTLAND, Ore. -- All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge has a hip flexor strain and is day-to-day.

The 6-foot-11 Aldridge sustained the injury during Wednesday night's practice and did not participate in practice on Thursday. His return is uncertain.

The Blazers opened training camp on Tuesday in preparation for the coming season.

Aldridge, a seven-year NBA veteran who was named an All-Star for the second straight year, averaged 21.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game last season.

The Blazers also say guard Will Barton sustained a concussion.

Heat: Spoelstra not changed by success
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas -- Erik Spoelstra dined in a Bahamian restaurant one night this week, and stopped to greet some people before walking out.

Along the way, about a dozen other diners asked to have their photo taken with the coach of the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat, and he happily obliged each request.

After all, it's not like anyone was throwing stuff at him.

This is how far Spoelstra has come. A couple years ago, he was dining outside and someone actually threw a broken piece of a sculpture at Spoelstra, missing him but hitting someone he was dining with. Two championships later, he's revered pretty much anywhere he goes.

He guards his privacy intently, though understands fame comes with the territory when winning (see full story).

Joel Embiid admits to reaggravating foot injury after 2014 surgery, almost quitting

Joel Embiid admits to reaggravating foot injury after 2014 surgery, almost quitting

Joel Embiid trusts the Process, more so than anyone — the process of patience.

After sitting out two whole seasons because of foot injuries, Embiid learned the importance of patience the hard way.

Appearing on NBA TV's Open Court, Joel Embiid opened up about how he reaggravated the fracture in his foot that cost him the 2015-16 season.

"I didn't know how to deal with patience," Embiid said on the roundtable discussion. "I just wanted to do stuff, that's why I think I needed a second surgery, because after my first one, I just wanted to play basketball again. I just wanted to be on the court and I pushed through what I wasn't supposed to.

"At one point I thought about quitting. I just wanted to come back home and just forget everything."

Embiid goes on to discuss the Sixers' turnaround this season and his mindset during his recovery. Watch the full clip below. 

Embiid also said he models his game after Hakeem Olajuwon. 

 

NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

With the NBA's glorified exhibition in the rearview mirror, we reenter reality of the remaining NBA season. The Sixers still are looking for suitors for Jahlil Okafor while questions swirl around about the health of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. 

Some claim they are tanking still, and if those people are talking about the recent NBA power rankings then they would be right. 

Games before the All-Star break
Last Monday and Wednesday the Sixers split their two games before the break, beating the Hornets and losing to the Celtics. 

Dario Saric continues to be the Sixers' most productive player in the absence of Embiid. In the short week, he averaged 19 points (a team leader in that category both games) and 11 rebounds. 

T.J. McConnell continues to control the floor at the point, dishing out seven assists against the Hornets and eight against the Celtics. 

An inability to finish has been the story for the Sixers without Embiid. The Sixers led by one at the half against the Hornets and were tied with the Celtics at the midway point. These are good signs, but these guys are far from being contenders in the east. The experts agree. 

What's next
Only two games this week for the 76ers: Friday at home against the Wizards (7 p.m./CSN) and on the road on Sunday to play the Knicks (7:30 p.m./CSN).

What the experts say
ESPN’s Marc Stein had some fun with his rankings this week using tweets and memes to describe a team’s current situation. The Sixers dropped from 20 to 23 in his rankings — not a significant drop but a drop nonetheless. 

He used this one in his evaluation of the Sixers:

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann bumped the Sixers up from 22 to 21 this week. He sees great improvement in Saric’s game stating: “Saric has already shown a lot of improvement and TLC, with his length on the perimeter, could prove to be a great fit next to the other core pieces if he can knock down shots.”

He added a positive thought on the Demarcus Cousins trade and how the Sixers still made out well even though they were not able to ship Okafor to the Pelicans. 

“The Sixers lost a potential trading partner with the DeMarcus Cousins trade to New Orleans, but still came out a winner in the deal, because they can swap first round picks with the Kings this year and own Sacramento's pick (with no protections) in 2019.”

Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes did not move the 76ers from the 21 spot on his list last week. He writes that he is intrigued with this processing team: “Sorry, but I'm never going to stop being delighted by the Sixers finding ways to win.”

He made his prediction for games won by the Sixers if they get Embiid back on the court: “It's hard to know what Simmons might bring, but Embiid's contributions are well understood. If he makes it back and looks healthy, Philly could easily win 30-plus games.”

Finally, Fox Sports’ Andrew Lynch dropped the Sixers from 27 to 28 – yikes! His outlook is very pessimistic as he looks exclusively at the injuries of Embiid and Simmons. He writes that a complete shutdown of Simmons would make sense as the season’s end gets closer by the day.