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LEBRON OUT OF THE HOSPITAL
Posted by Rob Peterson on October 14, 2005 2:45 p.m. ET

KING JAMES GETS A SCARE

Hopefully, LeBron James is breathing a sigh of relief today. That is, if it doesn't hurt to do so.

Yesterday, when the news came down that LeBron was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic with a strained pectoralis, here at NBA.com HQ, we scratched our collective head and wondered: "Why is a guy hospitalized with a strain?" Treated and released, yes. Admitted for a strain? Never heard of that before. (Us 98-pound weakling writers here also scratched our collective head and said: "What's a pec?")
-- [Joe Gabriele's CavBlog, Cavaliers.com]

Now we know why: pleurisy.
-- [SI.com]

Thankfully in this day and age, pleurisy, which is an inflammation of the thin tissue around the lungs often caused by a virus, as it was in James, is treatable with antiboitics.
-- [WebMD.com]

"Definitely, we're relieved," Cavaliers guard Damon Jones told the AP. "When we first started hearing about his discomfort we were all kind of worried. But the doctors did a great job of finding the problem and getting on top of it." -- [ESPN.com]

Yes, kudos to the clinic docs who diagnosed, according to one informational source, the most famous person ever to have it.
-- [Wikipedia.com]

Regardless, we want to wish King James a speedy recovery. With Amare's knee surgery and the report that the Knicks' Eddy Curry has had multiple heart incidents, we just want to see the NBA's best young players healthy and back on the floor.
-- [Suns.com, SI.com]

GOIN' FIRST

The other group of people happy to hear that LeBron's gonna be all right are fantasy owners.

That may be a cold way of thinking, but it's true. In the land where numbers are king, James reigns supreme.
-- [NBA.com]

For example, in last night's NBA.com Experts Fantasy Draft using NBA.com's Fantasy Basketball League Manager, featuring fantasy experts from SI, ESPN, Talented Mr. Roto, NBA TV's Rick Kamla and yours truly, LeBron went No. 1. (We'll have more on this Draft in NBA.com's Fantasy Resource Center this weekend.)
-- [NBA.com]

As for my squad, I picked 10th. Selecting 10th in a league with those guys, I felt like a mute and frozen Ralphie wanting to speak my peace in the Santa Claus scene from A Christmas Story:

Santa Claus: How about a nice football?
Ralphie as Adult: Football? Football? What's a football? With unconscious will my voice squeaked out 'football'.
Santa Claus: Okay, get him out of here.
Ralphie as Adult: A football? Oh no, what was I doing? Wake up, Stupid! Wake up!
Ralphie: [Is shoved down the slide, but he stops himself and climbs back up] No! No! I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!
Santa Claus: You'll shoot your eye out, kid.

I'll shoot my eye out? With T-Mac and Michael Redd on the perimeter, I'll be shooting my opponents' eyes out. That, and I could use a new football too.

TIP INS

By the way, make sure to tune into the Heat-Grizzlies game from San Juan, Puerto Rico tonight (8:30 ET, NBA TV).
-- [NBA.com]

How do you get five 6-8 guys on the floor at once? Ask Hawks coach Mike Woodson.
-- [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

This triangle thing is hard.
-- [L.A. Daily News]

And finally, looks like the Jazz may have hit the jackpot with Deron Williams.
-- [Salt Lake Tribune]

CHANGE OF DIRECTION FOR TEAM USA
Posted by John Schuhmann on October 13, 2005 2:15 p.m. ET

POSITIVE REVIEWS FOR COACH K

The word is out that USA Basketball will name Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski to lead Team USA for the 2006 World Championships in Japan and 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Coach K would be the first college coach to lead the U.S. since professional players became eligible in 1992. -- [AP]

We've been chatting about it here at the features desk this morning (other topics being the Catholic religion and Ron Artest's music video - we're a well-rounded group here) and our feelings are mixed. We understand the desire to go in a different direction after last year's third place finish under Larry Brown, but how Coach K deals with NBA players and more importantly, how NBA players deal with Coach K, is a big unknown.

You have to respect the man for what he has done at Duke. He is a proven winner who has put together a dominant program in Durham. If they put together a team of former Dukees, he would certainly get the best out of them. But there will be players on that team that never played college basketball and might be turned off by how a strict college coach runs things.

Reaction around the league has been positive though:

Larry Brown endorses the decision.
-- [New York Daily News]

Shane Battier of the Grizzlies says that his former coach will get guys to play hard.
-- [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

Kobe Bryant thinks it's "cool".
-- [Los Angeles Times]

Maurice Cheeks, Gregg Popovich, Dahntay Jones and Daniel Ewing have also had positive things to say about Krzyzewski.
-- [Houston Chronicle]

It will certainly be interesting. The key will be getting team players from around the league who are willing to make the committment.

QUICK HITS

Interesting article on the Eddy Curry situation and how the complicated issue of genetic testing of athletes is far from resolved.
-- [USA Today]

A few days into the preseason, there are some interesting position battles going on:

Who's the Celtics point guard, Dan Dickau, Delonte West or Marcus Banks? Dickau wants the job.
-- [Celtics.com]

Doug Christie and Marquis Daniels have a friendly competition going in Dallas for the starting shooting guard spot.
-- [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Reg. req'd]

The Lakers are looking for somebody, anybody, to step up and take that fifth starter spot.
-- [Los Angeles Times]

OUCH, THAT'S AMARE!
Posted by Jeff Dengate on October 12, 2005 12:30 p.m. ET

WEIGHING STOUDEMIRE'S INJURY

I received an e-mail late last week completely un-related to business and, as with most first time corresponders who see NBA in your address, the author, Paul, wanted to talk hoops. Here's a note from Paul:

"p.s. Nash wins the MVP again this year, you heard it here first."

Of course, Paul's comment was made before he heard this news.
-- [Suns.com]

Want to re-consider Paul?

Now, I'm not saying Steve Nash can't win the award again, but considering Stoudemire's knee surgery erases 26 points and nine boards nightly from the Suns' box scores and Nash is only the fourth point guard to ever capture the hardware, a repeat performace is quite a stretch for me to envision.
-- [NBA.com]

Stoudemire's absence is sure to be felt in places other than the all-time awards winners list, namely the Pacific Division and Western Conference standings. Some are even thinking the team with the best record last season will be fighting just to reach the playoffs.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd]

Since it's fairly evident the Suns will have to tinker with their offense until Stoudemire returns, here's what the injury means for Stoudemire, himself: Four to six weeks on crutches, followed by a lengthy rehab period and ultimately his return to the court. Given the proper time to heal, he could be back on the hardwood "clobbering" people after the All-Star break.
-- [The Arizona Republic]

Whatever the cost of the surgery, the procedure is frightening as others have struggled in recovering from similar operations.
-- [The Arizona Republic]

But, the Suns, and their fans like Paul, are hoping for a speedy recovery.

Hopefully, we'll see LeBron James back on the court soon.
(Mitchell Layton/NBAE/Getty Images)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Jazz rookie Deron Williams on playing his first NBA game:

"Every time you step on the court, you should want to win. That's got to be your attitude. I don't think you take games off because they don't (count) on your record."
-- [Salt Lake Tribune]

2004-05 ARCHIVE
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