Suicide lines: Bogut, Karl progressing; Spurs getting younger

Trey Kerby
September 1, 2010
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Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your tuna fish sandwich.

Charles F. Gardner, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Andrew Bogut's terrible tumble put a hurt on the Milwaukee Bucks' playoff hopes last spring. Bogut suffered a gruesome, season-ending injury when he hit the Bradley Center floor after dunking the ball against Phoenix on April 3, and the 7-foot center suffered broken bones in his right wrist, a fractured right hand and index finger and dislocated right elbow. Now the focus switches to the upcoming season and Bogut's ability to make a full recovery. He has been working diligently on his rehabilitation routine in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia, and is expected to return to Milwaukee on Tuesday as players begin arriving for informal workouts in anticipation of the 2010-'11 season. It's unclear when Bogut will be ready to resume his place in the Bucks' lineup, but team officials remain optimistic about his recovery. "Our hope and anticipation is that Andrew will be ready to go when the season begins," Bucks general manager John Hammond said. "The great thing about going through this process with Andrew is he's proven to us as an organization and to our fans that his effort, energy and toughness will never be questioned." The Bucks have made a serious effort to strengthen their front court during the off-season, signing free agent power forward Drew Gooden(notes), acquiring power forward Jon Brockman(notes) in a trade with Sacramento and drafting 6-foot-11 Larry Sanders(notes) in the first round. Those players will join Bogut, third-year forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute(notes) and 6-10 Ersan Ilyasova(notes), along with small forwards Carlos Delfino(notes) and Corey Maggette(notes). But Bogut's health will be the most closely watched issue when training camp opens in late September. The Bucks will play eight pre-season games before opening the regular season Oct. 27 at New Orleans. "Saying it was significant is an understatement," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said of Bogut's injury. "It was a terrible fall. Everybody who saw it knew immediately he was out for a long time. We're glad he's doing real well and hopeful there aren't any setbacks and he'll be ready to go."

Chris Dempsey, Denver Post: Nuggets coach George Karl, having cleared every major hurdle in his latest bout with cancer, has little doubt he'll be back for the upcoming season. "I'm not sure it's official. Before we make that declaration, there's probably one or two more doctor's appointments that I want to get done," Karl said Tuesday. "But my mind slot is: Get ready." Karl missed the majority of the last two months of the regular season and all of the playoffs last spring as he battled neck and throat cancer. With the help of his life partner, Kim Van Deraa, and other friends and family members, Karl is on track to getting back in the coach's chair.

Mike Monroe, San Antonio Express-News: From a Spurs roster once described as older than dirt has sprung a new cadre of players characterized as younger than saplings. Unless additional 30-something players are signed before training camp opens on Sept. 27, only three Spurs - Antonio McDyess(notes) (36), Tim Duncan(notes) (34) and Manu Ginobili(notes) (33) - will be older than 30. Richard Jefferson(notes) and Matt Bonner(notes) turned 30 in recent months. The rest of the opening night roster likely will include at least five players between the ages of 21 and 25. "We used to talk about how old we are," general manager R.C. Buford said. "Now we have (three) guys above 30 but a lot of fresh, new faces. It's exciting to me, but it probably scares the coaches to death." Little wonder, then, that Spurs assistant coach Chad Forcier, tasked primarily with player development, has hop-scotched the country this summer working with Spurs, young and old, seeking to improve their games. "I've been pretty busy," Forcier said during a phone interview conducted, appropriately enough, while awaiting a flight connection at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. "I've logged a lot of miles."

Steve Hunt, FOX Sports: Ekpe Udoh admits at this time a year ago, being in the NBA was something he considered nothing more than an outside possibility. And the ex-Baylor basketball star never thought he'd be a lottery pick. "No [I never thought I'd be here]. It's one of those things that Coach [Scott] Drew said was a possibility," he said by phone. "We had to keep on winning and everything fell into place. It's just a dream come true." But it will be a while before he's back on the court. Udoh had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist in July and is expected to miss about six months. That means he could make his professional debut sometime after the calendar turns to 2011. "I haven't started rehabbing yet. I'm just working out, focusing on my core and trying to get stronger," he said. "It was tough at first once it happened. But I realized, this is going to happen in my career. I've just got to take it and get better." Developing a stronger core is something he feels will pay big dividends once he does return to the court later this year. "I won't be back until January or February. The biggest adjustment will be the speed of the game and the physicality," Udoh said. "I'm working on that now with my core and my lower legs. Those are the two things I've got to work on to be able to adapt to the NBA."

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Ronald Tillery, Memphis Commercial Appeal: Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace is in Israel working a basketball camp. Head coach Lionel Hollins and reserve center Hasheem Thabeet(notes) recently participated in an NBA-sponsored camp in Africa. Now, starting center Marc Gasol(notes) is preparing to do his part to promote the game outside the United States. Gasol, joined by his brother (and former Griz) Pau Gasol(notes), will help host the first Basketball Without Borders event to take place in Spain from Sept. 16-19. Rudy Fernandez(notes) (Portland) will also participate in the program, which will take place in Barcelona, Spain at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.

Pete Thamel, New York Times: The shrill whistles, the deafening din of Thundersticks and singsong chants began a half-hour before Greece played Turkey at the world championships. Centuries of tension between these ancient rivals reverberated during each possession. "Certainly, Greece and Turkey have never been any kind of allies - ever," said Ilter Orbayli, one of Turkey's pre-eminent historians and the director of Topkapi Palace. "So the rivalry, of course, is very high." Amid an atmosphere than makes Red Sox-Yankees or Auburn-Alabama feel like pillow fights or patty-cake, Turkey pulled away for an impressive 76-65 victory. Turkey improved to 3-0 in Group C. The game showed that any game featuring the Turks in the knockout round will be a daunting contest. "Our fans are great today," the Turkish guard Kerem Tunceri said. "Before the tournament here, we talked a lot about this. When we get down they help us a lot. We have to use it." Despite being NATO allies, there is a reason Greece and Turkey celebrate their national days of independence because of victories over the other. They have fought four wars since the late 1890s, but with foreign ministers from both counties in the stands, there is an appearance of an active effort of cooperation. The Turkish coach, Bogdan Tanjevic, who is from Montenegro, called the game a "gentleman's fight."

RealGM: Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today a restructuring of the Thunder Basketball Operations department. The Thunder promoted Troy Weaver to VP/Assistant General Manager, Rob Hennigan to Assistant General Manager/Player Personnel, Paul Rivers to Director of Minor League Operations and Basketball Technology and Brandon Barnett to Director of Minor League Scouting and Manager of Minor League Operations. The team added Michael Winger as Assistant General Manager/Legal and Administration and David Vanterpool as Pro Scout.

Shandel Richardson, South Florida Sun Sentinel: An offseason of change continued for newly-acquired Heat forward Chris Bosh(notes). Bosh, who left Toronto after seven seasons and spent the summer trying to boost his commercial appeal, now has a fiancée. He was recently engaged to girlfriend Adrienne Williams, according to the New York Post. The paper, quoting an anonymous source, said Bosh proposed Friday outside their Miami home. The news will keep Bosh in the headlines. He's openly said he wants to improve his marketability. This summer, Bosh guested in HBO's "Entourage" and joined the Got Milk? ad campaign. "I mean, basketball will pretty much take care of itself," Bosh said recently . "There's more to life than basketball. I can't play this game my whole life. I'm just trying to figure out what I like to do and meet some cool people along the way."