For the purposes of this article, we will call injury rehab, simply “rehab.” It adds a level of tragedy to their absences.
Many of the tallest white men in the NBA are in rehab at the moment. When they return from their time in rehab, their teams will get a serious lift. Here is a quick update on the progress of each player in rehab:
Kevin Love, Timberwolves.
Kevin Love broke his hand doing knuckle push-ups. He’s out until late December at the earliest. Love joins fellow wolf Ricky Rubio in rehab, forcing Minnesota to look for Nikola Pekovic and former Celtic Greg Steimsma to make up for some of Love’s absence. Steimsma collected 9 points, 7 boards, and four blocks against the lowly Kings in Minnesota’s opener.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks.
Arthroscopic surgery on his knee following two knee-draining procedures have forced Nowitzki into rehab. He will be off the court and in rehab for at least three weeks. Dallas’ opening night win over the Lakers has given Mavs fans a reason to believe they can compete for the 6th, 7th or 8th seed in the West. They would be wise to keep in mind the fact that the Lakers then lost to the Blazers, a team also predicted to finish anywhere from 7th to 12th in the West, following that with a defeat to their hometown rivals, the Clippers, despite Kobe’s single-handed attempt to claw out a victory.
Chris Kaman, Mavs.
Kaman came out of rehab and joined the Mavs in their blowout win of the Bobcats last night. In 20 minutes, Kaman shot 8-of-9 from the floor, scoring 16 points and collecting four rebounds. O.J. Mayo’s fiery 3-pt shooting (7-of-10) set the tone. The question is this: Does a win against the Bobcats count as a full win? Maybe ½ of a win?
Andrew Bogut, Warriors.
Despite playing 18 minutes in each of the Warriors first two games, and hoping the pin in his ankle remains in place, Bogut went back into rehab and sat out Game 3 last night. Festus Ezeli and Carl Landry are more than happy to take Bogut’s minutes and make them productive.
Darko Milicic, Celtics.
Darko remains in the limbo between rehab and active duty. Darko received 5 minutes of playing time against the Bucks on Friday night. In those minutes, he turned the ball over twice, shot an air-ball, committed a foul, and grabbed one defensive rebound. The next night, Chris Wilcox was given those minutes (8) and came through with zeroes in every category, except for personal fouls (2). Darko’s absence from the final ten days of the preseason has left our hero with a thin layer of rust that must be carefully removed.
Manu Ginobili, Spurs.
The Spurs missed Ginobili for much of last year’s shortened regular season with a broken hand and an oblique strain. This year, Ginobili has gone back to rehab, thinking mostly about his back. He played 16 minutes on Saturday during the Spurs 110-100 win over the Jazz. The aging Argentinean will be given breaks throughout the long season in the hopes of contributing to yet another Spurs playoff run.