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Steve Clifford: Dwight Howard Will Start for Hornets, Zeller to Come Off the Bench

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The new Charlotte Hornets starting lineup will look an awful lot like the one that completed last season.

Coach Steve Clifford said Friday that his projected starters, going into training camp Sept. 26 at Spectrum Center, are Kemba Walker at point guard, Nic Batum at shooting guard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at small forward, Marvin Williams at power forward and Dwight Howard at center.

The only change from last season that would represent is the addition of Howard, who the Hornets traded for in June. He will replace Cody Zeller, who will still play extensively at center and could play some power forward in certain matchups.

That lineup means power forward Frank Kaminsky would continue to come off the bench and rookie guard Malik Monk, the 11th overall pick in June’s draft, would also be in the second unit.

Clifford said Howard, who he coached twice as an NBA assistant, isn’t as athletic as he was when the Orlando Magic drafted him No. 1 overall in 2004. But his defensive impact can still be big on a team that had little or no rim protection last season.

“Dwight is still an elite defender,” Clifford said. “He’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever been around. He’s Marvin Williams” as a traffic cop on defense.

Source: Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer

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D’Angelo Russell Has Arthroscopic Surgery on Left Knee, No Timetable for Return

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Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Friday.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Riley Williams III at the Hospital for Special Surgery. No timetable for his return was announced.

“It’s an arthroscopic surgery, so the plan would be for him to return this season,” general manager Sean Marks said. “It’s definitely frustrating for D’Angelo. He’s going into this as another challenge. He knows he’ll bounce back from this and we have no doubts in our mind that he’ll be better and stronger than he was before.”

Russell missed time due to knee injuries last season, but this latest knee injury was not related.

Russell has played in 12 games for Brooklyn this season with team-leading averages of 20.9 points and 5.7 assists.

Source: Associated Press via ESPN

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Mike Conley Out Indefinitely with Sore Achilles, Heel

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Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley is out for an indefinite period because of soreness in his left Achilles and heel, the team announced Friday.

The Grizzlies did not provide a timetable for his return, saying only that they would provide an update in approximately two weeks.

“It’s unfortunate,” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale told reporters Friday. “But watching him play in pain like that and really trying to push through that stuff was worse to watch.”

Conley will undergo therapy to help in the healing process after consulting with physicians and the team’s medical staff.

The guard has started 12 of the Grizzlies’ first 14 games this season. Conley is averaging 17.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists in his 11th NBA season. He has been playing an average of 31.1 minutes each game.

Source: ESPN

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Derrick Rose Out at least Two More Weeks with Sprained Left Ankle

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Cavaliers starting point guard Derrick Rose will miss at least the next two weeks with a sprained left ankle.

The Cavaliers say Rose had additional tests Friday at the Cleveland Clinic Sports Health Center. Rose’s ankle will be immobilized in a boot for the next week, and he will undergo “an extended treatment process over the next two to three weeks.”

“Just a jacked-up ankle,” Rose told ESPN. “I’m just trying to figure it out, bro. Right now, it’s just a jacked-up ankle. Just sore. I’m getting a lot of treatment for it, and tonight will be my first time wearing a boot. So I’ll wear this, for I don’t know how long, to see how it helps.”

Rose injured the ankle Oct. 20 at Milwaukee and missed four games, then returned, before missing Cleveland’s past four games.

Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN

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