Bobcats, Grizzlies Look For First Win
Posted Nov 3 2006 3:34PM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
After seeing several key players lose time to injuries last season, Charlotte Bobcats head coach Bernie Bickerstaff got a scare when his leading scorer in 2005-06 hit the floor in the season opener.
Gerald Wallace, though, says not to worry.
Wallace is expected to play Friday when the Bobcats visit the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum.
Wallace left Wednesday's 106-99 loss to Indiana in the second quarter after being knocked to the floor by Danny Granger while going up for a dunk. Wallace's hit the floor head first and was attended to for several minutes before getting to his feet.
However, he did not have a concussion and went through a full practice Thursday with the first unit.
``I think their main focus was how my head was feeling,'' said Wallace, who finished with nine points in just under 14 minutes before leaving the opener. ``They just wanted to make sure I didn't have a concussion or brain damage or anything. They said as long as that was fine, I was good to go.''
Wallace led the Bobcats with 15.2 points per game last season and became the first NBA player in 14 years to average more than 2 blocks and 2 steals a game.
``I am used to playing sore and used to playing with my body banged up,'' he said.
Bickerstaff was pleasantly surprised to see Wallace practicing Thursday.
``That is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I guess they don't call him the 'rubber band man' for nothing,'' he said.
Last season, the Bobcats (0-1) were beset by injuries. Emeka Okafor, the team's first-round pick in 2004, was hampered by a sprained ankle for most of the season and appeared in one game after Dec. 20. He finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and a team record-tying six blocks against the Pacers.
Sean May, one of two first-round selections in 2005, was limited to 23 games by a knee injury. He also had a double-double in the opener, recording 10 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes.
But center Primoz Brezec, who scored a team-high 982 points in 79 games last season, didn't play and is expected to miss about two weeks due to dehydration and exhaustion.
Adam Morrison, chosen third overall in the 2006 draft out of Gonzaga, came off the bench to score 14 points including a spectacular 41-foot leaner off an inbounds pass at the end of the first quarter.
``I played good in stretches, but obviously we are trying to win,'' Morrison said. ``I'm not worried about looks or scoring or anything like that.''
The Grizzlies (0-1) also dropped their season-opener Wednesday, falling 118-117 in three overtimes to the New York Knicks. Memphis rallied from 19 points down in the fourth quarter, but were unable to put the Knicks away.
``It's real tough, being we played so hard and came back from being down ... It's tough to lose by one after playing so hard,'' said rookie Rudy Gay, who scored 21 points in his NBA debut.
Pau Gasol, who led Memphis with 20.4 points and 8.9 rebounds last season is out indefinitely after breaking his foot while playing for Spain in the world championships this summer.
Memphis has swept Charlotte in each of the Bobcats' first two seasons in the league.
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