The Sixers are chugging along with less than 20 regular-season games left, but let’s check in on what's going on around the rest of the league as the regular season winds down.
Kevin Durant injured during warmups, will miss rest of regular season
After just three games with his new team, the Phoenix Suns, Kevin Durant was injured after slipping during warmups before the Suns’ matchup hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Here’s video of Kevin Durant slipping on the floor pregame.— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) March 9, 2023
He stayed down for a few seconds but then got up and finished his on-court work. pic.twitter.com/DwTrNc6LIr
After missing the Thunder contest, it was announced that KD would miss 2-3 weeks with the ankle injury suffered during the fall. With just a few weeks left in the season, Durant may miss the rest of the regular season and possibly the beginning of the playoffs.
ESPN Sources: Suns’ Kevin Durant (left ankle) expected to miss 2-to-3 weeks.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 9, 2023
Luka Doncic has clean MRI, expected to return soon
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic’s MRI on his thigh has come up clean, with the star expected to return once the soreness subsides, but he is not expected to miss significant time, according to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski.
Luka Doncic's MRI on his thigh is clean and he's expected to return as soon as discomfort allows him, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 9, 2023
Doncic had been dealing with soreness in his thigh since the Mavericks’ win over the Spurs on Feb. 23, and ultimately exited the Mavericks’ March 8 contest with the New Orleans Pelicans early due to the injury.
Ja Morant drama continues
We are about a week removed from Ja Morant’s posting of himself brandishing a gun in a night club, and the situation continues to develop with the Memphis Grizzlies young star sidelined from basketball.
Earlier this week, Glendale, Colorado police announced they had closed their investigation regarding the video with no charges filed against Morant, citing “not enough available evidence to charge anyone with a crime.”
Just in: Glendale, Colorado police has closed its investigation into Grizzlies star Ja Morant with no charge or crime: “There was not enough available evidence to charge anyone with a crime.” Full release: pic.twitter.com/Ng0uYdoLpp— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 8, 2023
That being said, the road back to the court for Morant is unclear at this time. Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins announced that Morant would be away from the team for “at least the next four games,” as the 23-year-old “deals with some stuff personally to get better.”
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins on the process for Ja Morant to eventually rejoin the team: pic.twitter.com/v3VRT03v9Z— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 9, 2023
Zion Williamson may miss rest of regular season
The timetable for Zion Williamson’s return to action for the New Orleans Pelicans is not looking promising. The 22-year-old forward is expected to miss at least two more weeks with a hamstring injury, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Zion Williamson (hamstring) will miss a minimum of two more weeks, Pels say.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 8, 2023
Williamson has been out since pulling up limping in a Jan. 2 contest vs. the Philadelphia 76ers. The 2019 first overall draft pick has only played 29 games so far this season.
The 32-34 Pelicans currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference, 1.5 games back from the sixth place Golden State Warriors and a coveted playoff berth. Even if Williamson was to return in exactly two weeks from Wednesday’s report — which isn’t looking promising based on how this injury has progressed thus far — that would only leave him with 10 regular season games left.
VanVleet ref rant and fine
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet was fined $30,000 by the league after going on a rant regarding official Ben Taylor after the Raptors’ loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on March 8.
“I don’t mind, I’ll take a fine. I don’t really care. I thought Ben Taylor was f***ing terrible tonight. On most nights, out of the 3, there’s 1 or 2 that f*** the game up.”— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) March 9, 2023
Fred VanVleet on tonight’s officials, and NBA officiating: pic.twitter.com/Plp8DaqNp5
Clearly, VanVleet knew the fine was coming, and seemed content to get his money’s worth. VanVleet received his eighth technical foul of the season in Wednesday’s contest — the third to come from Taylor.
Lonzo Ball’s journey back to basketball could get longer
It’s been over a year now since Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee in Jan. 2022. Since then, the journey back has been a rough one for Ball, with two surgical procedures and a number of a setbacks keeping him from stepping back onto the court for the entirety of the 2021-22 season. He faced serious doubt of returning for 2022-23 before being officially shut down by the Bulls in Feb. 2023.
Now, the timetable gets even longer, with Wojnarowski reporting that there’s growing concern that a third surgery on the knee may be required — one that would sideline him at least another six months for recovery. Ball has not played in a game since Jan. 14, 2022.
ESPN Sources: There is a growing possibility that Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball will need a third surgical procedure on his right knee that would likely require another six months of recovery and rehabilitation. pic.twitter.com/pnToNKynhb— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 9, 2023