NBA Notes: Love hurts finger in T'wolves' win


NBA Notes: Love hurts finger in T'wolves' win

DENVER -- Timberwolves forward Kevin Love left Minnesota's game against the Denver Nuggets after spraining a finger on his right hand in the third quarter.

His return Thursday night was questionable.

Love was sliding past a Nuggets player in the lane when he suddenly clutched at his hand and headed into the training room. Love had 12 points and 17 rebounds before departing. He later returned to the bench.

The All-Star broke his right hand in October and missed the opening nine games of the season.

The Pepsi Center hasn't been kind to Love, who sustained a mild concussion and neck strain after a hit to the head in a game against Denver last April.

- The Associated Press
Jackson hurt falling into waitress
NEW YORK -- Spurs forward Stephen Jackson left San Antonio's game against the Knicks after spraining his right ankle when he crashed into a waitress working the sideline in front of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Jackson was hurt in the first quarter Thursday night when he shot a 3-pointer from the corner. The shot missed and he stepped backward out of bounds and onto the waitress, who was kneeling in front of courtside seats.

It was unclear if the waitress was serving Bloomberg, who was seen eating a box of popcorn shortly after the play.
- The Associated Press

Villanueva to appeal fine for foul
Detroit's Charlie Villanueva was ejected and later fined 25,000 for his flagrant foul on Sacramento's Isaiah Thomas.

Villanueva plans to appeal the fine, and when hearing that Thomas called him a dirty play, the Detroit forward said this, via the Detroit Free Press:

"Dirty player? Not at all, Villanueva said. "He saw an open lane, I tried to block the ball and hes 4-foot-11, a 100 pounds wet so he looks bad. Im not a dirty player. I didnt try to hurt him at all."

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Nerlens Noel undergoes surgery on sore left knee

Nerlens Noel undergoes surgery on sore left knee

Nerlens Noel has had surgery on his sore left knee, and the Sixers have not disclosed a timetable for the disgruntled center's return.

Noel has been out since the team's first preseason game. He initially had a left groin strain before experiencing soreness in the knee during rehab, and it was discovered he had an inflamed plica. 

The team is calling the surgery a "minor elective arthroscopic procedure." It was performed in New York by Dr. Riley J. Williams at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Noel eventually will travel to Birmingham, Ala. to rehab with associate clinical director Kevin Wilk at Champion Sports Medicine.

The Sixers expect to have a timetable for his return once Noel returns to Philadelphia. According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Noel is expected to miss three to five weeks. 

This has been a rough preseason for Noel, who hasn't hidden his displeasure with his role on the Sixers' jammed frontcourt. The team has until Oct. 31 to extend his rookie contract but, per a report in the Inquirer earlier this month, the two sides have yet to discuss it. 

Sixers still deciding who will start opener, how long Jahlil Okafor will play

Sixers still deciding who will start opener, how long Jahlil Okafor will play

CAMDEN, N.J. — Brett Brown doesn’t have many options at his disposal for opening night against the Thunder, but a day before the Sixers' regular-season tip-off, he still is considering how to utilize his shorthanded roster.

What Brown is sure of is Joel Embiid will be capped at 20 minutes in five four-minute segments. Embiid, coming off two years of foot injuries, began the preseason playing 12.

The Sixers have not locked in a minutes restriction on Jahlil Okafor. The second-year big man aggravated his right knee during training camp and played eight minutes in his first preseason game last Friday.

“You’ll intermittently sub that and Richaun Holmes will make up the rest,” Brown said after practice Tuesday. “The five-spot is locked in with those three, and I feel like tomorrow we’ll be able to better figure out how many four-minute sections does Jahlil actually get.”

Brown started Sergio Rodriguez, Gerald Henderson, Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Embiid in the final two preseason games. On Tuesday he did not announce a starting five, specifically a point guard. That role is between Rodriguez and T.J. McConnell because of the injury to Jerryd Bayless (wrist). 

“Still considering a lot,” Brown said of the one-spot. “Not prepared right now to say one thing or another.”

Rodriguez, who has been practicing with the white squad, anticipates he will be given the nod. It will be his first regular-season game in the NBA since 2010.

“Yes, I expect, but for me that doesn’t matter,” Rodriguez said. “It’s going to be a big game for everybody. Everybody needs to be ready. We will need all we have to beat them.”

The Sixers' inactive list includes Bayless, Ben Simmons (foot) and Nerlens Noel (knee), all of whom could be starters if healthy. With so many injuries to major contributors and the implementation of segmented minutes, Brown will have to look down his bench over the course of four quarters.

“We’re going to have to go 10-deep. I bet we could even go 11-deep,” he said. “We’re in a very unusual circumstance that players can’t play multiple minutes. ... That, coupled with I think you can’t expect to have the energy and effort that we want on the floor without giving people six-minute chunks.” 

The Sixers and Thunder face off at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center.