OAKLAND, Calif. — Rockets star Chris Paul is receiving treatment “around the clock” on his injured right hamstring and coach Mike D’Antoni hopes it will only be a matter of days before he is healthy enough to play again.
The timeline remained unclear whether Paul might be fine to play a possible Game 7 if the Rockets lost Saturday night’s Game 6 and had to return to Houston to face the Golden State Warriors again Monday night. Eric Gordon started in Paul’s place Saturday at Oracle Arena.
“I think he’ll play as soon as he can,” D’Antoni said before the game Saturday. “It’s just not a question of trying to outsmart. He’s going to play. As soon as he’s able to walk and run, he’ll do it. There was no shot at it today.”
Golden State forward Andre Iguodala was out for a third straight game this series after he sustained a bone bruise in his left knee during Game 3. Coach Steve Kerr said Iguodala continues to have pain when running, so he’s still listed as day to day.
“It’s a bone bruise, and those are hard to predict,” Kerr said. “Until he’s able to really run without pain, then he can’t play.”
Paul’s presence at Oracle Arena still meant plenty.
“He’s devastated. He has to be. We’re all devastated for him. At the same time, we’ll rally and do what’s right,” D’Antoni said. “He’s so integral in what we do and the spirit of the team. And him being here is a big deal, and him being on the bench is a big deal. He’ll will us through, if he can.”
Kerr felt terribly for Paul — and others who have gone down.
“More than anything, I feel bad for Chris. The guy is a phenomenal player and competitor, and pretty much willed his team the last two games. He’s just been haunted by these types of injuries in his career, and it’s a shame,” Kerr said.
“I hate when anybody gets hurt. I hate when Andre got hurt. I hate to see Kevin Love last night, Kyrie [Irving]. These guys train so hard and they’re here and they’re competing, and you want everybody to be healthy, but just the reality is it usually doesn’t work out that way. So you’ve just got to keep playing with whoever’s there and keep going.”
Second-year Golden State guard Patrick McCaw, who had been out since a scary back injury at Sacramento on March 31 when undercut by Vince Carter, was available to play after earlier being upgraded to questionable. He wasn’t expected to contribute key minutes given the injury and time missed.
“It would be a tough spot to put him in, in the meat of the game, with not having played for a long time. But at this point, it’s all hands on deck, obviously,” Kerr said. “You never know how the game’s going to play out. I had teammates who literally played one play in a playoff game and made a play and helped us win a game. So you just never know.”
Shortly before the start of the league year, the Philadelphia Eagles turned down a potential trade that would have sent Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles to the Cleveland Browns for the 35th overall pick in the 2018 draft, according to three sources familiar with the talks.
Before rejecting the deal, two sources said, the Eagles ran the scenario by Foles, who said he preferred to remain in Philadelphia. In April, the Eagles and Foles agreed to a re-worked contract that gave him a $2 million bonus for 2018 and allowed him to earn up to $14 million in incentives, while creating a “mutual option” for him to remain with the team in 2019. (Basically, Foles is free to leave if he pays back the $2 million.)
The Browns, meanwhile, turned their attention to former Buffalo Bills starter Tyrod Taylor, who they acquired for a third-round pick on March 10. Cleveland later selected former Oklahoma star Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick of the draft, though coach Hue Jackson has declared that Taylor will be his unequivocal starter for 2018. With the 35th pick — the second of their two second-rounders — the Browns selected Georgia running back Nick Chubb.
The decision not to trade Foles reflected the Eagles’ immense regard for his abilities, which were showcased during the team’s NFC championship game blowout of the Minnesota Vikings and again in the epic Super Bowl triumph over the Patriots. It was also based on the uncertainty regarding the status of third-year franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, who tore his ACL in a December victory over the Los Angeles Rams and theoretically might not be ready for the team’s Sept. 6 regular season opener against the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field — though the team is optimistic that Wentz will be able to meet that timeline.
It’s also possible that Foles could still be sent elsewhere before the start of the 2018 season, or at any point up to the Tuesday, Oct. 30 trade deadline.
Two Septembers ago, five days after Vikings starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a severe knee injury in practice, the Eagles dealt starter Sam Bradford to Minnesota for first- and fourth-round picks — a move that allowed Wentz, then a rookie, to ascend to the top of the depth chart just before the start of the regular season. If a similar scenario were to present itself this summer, the Eagles could possibly be open to parting with Foles, especially if they were offered a first-round pick in return.
It’s also possible that Foles could be dealt shortly before the trade deadline, especially if Wentz has established that he is fully healthy. Last Oct. 30, the Patriots sent promising backup Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers for a second-round pick.
In the meantime, Foles remains the NFL’s highest-profile backup quarterback — a role with which he is clearly comfortable, given his preference that the Eagles reject the Browns’ overtures.
The MVP race is on, and, truly, Russell Wilson is amidst it. For those out there who reliably say I can’t give the Seattle Seahawks quarterback his due, I offer this: Wilson ought to be second right now to New England’s Tom Brady in the race for MVP.
Wilson has been uncommon this season, conveying a group with a terrible hostile line, no running diversion and real wounds on resistance to a 8-4 record and second place in the NFC West.