Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti announced on Friday that Kevin Durant has been removed from all basketball activities, effectively shutting him down for an indefinite amount of time.
“The goal is to get him back on the court healthy, whenever that is,” Presti told reporters, per Michael Lee of The Washington Post. “If that takes the rest of the regular season, if that takes the rest of the playoffs, that’s what it takes.”
Presti said that Durant’s foot injury has not progressed as the team had hoped it would. Durant last played on Feb. 19, and he appeared to be on the road to recovery until he was held out of practice on Thursday after complaining of soreness. The 26-year-old star underwent surgery before the season when he broke his foot. He later had another procedure done to relieve soreness that was being caused by the screw doctors inserted.
While they are currently clinging to the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, the Thunder have no interest in letting Durant play through discomfort.
“Unless he’s able to be back on the floor without soreness, he won’t be back on the floor,” Presti said.
It goes without saying that this is terrible news for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook has played lights out during Durant’s absence (just don’t try asking him about it), but there is little chance Oklahoma City can make a deep run without Durant. Qualifying for the playoffs with 14 games remaining in the regular season will be a challenge in itself.
- Kevin Durant
Mario Tremblay is not a fan of P.K. Subban. The former Montreal Canadiens forward and coach has been critical of Subban several times when speaking to the media, but it became clearer than ever how much Tremblay dislikes the star defenseman when Tremblay was arrested earlier this year.
Tremblay was arrested in January after he was pulled over for speeding and refused to submit to a breathalyzer test. As the Globe and Mail noted, the police officer who arrested Tremblay said in his report that the 58-year-old insulted him using a Subban reference.
“’You can’t do that to me, I am Mario Tremblay,’” officer Constable Maxime Perron quoted the former Habs coach as saying. “He compared me to some hockey players, [saying] that I was ‘like ‘a P.K. Subban’, that I had no judgment and that I was being petty.”
This dude is getting booked for DUI and he still manages to take a shot at Subban? Maybe time to get over it, bro.
I don’t like Subban either, mostly because he is known for irritating antics like this. Still, Tremblay might want to speak to someone about his obsession.
H/T Puck Daddy
How many times have we seen two fighters beat the crap out of each other inside the octagon and then hug it out after? Plenty. How many times have we seen one fighter go on to date his opponent’s sister? Not many — at least that I know of.
That is exactly what happened after UFC lightweights Drew Dober and Nick Hein fought three bloody rounds last May. In front of his home fans in Germany, Hein submitted Dober in the third round after opening up a massive cut above his eye. But as Dober told German website Groundandpound.de recently, the trip overseas was more than worth it.
“I lost the fight, which was unfortunate,” Dober said, via a translation from Bloody Elbow. “But I met Gloria, so the trip stands for more than just that loss.”
Gloria is Hein’s sister. She and Dober were introduced at Hein’s afterparty following the fight. They hit it off and have been together ever since.
“I talked to Nick’s sister, we exchanged contacts and yeah, she is just a fantastic person,” Dober explained. “We stayed in contact and then it just happened as it happened. We met in New York and then went to Denver where I am living right now and in December, I visited her in Germany.”
From the sound of it, Dober has Hein’s blessing. Dober celebrated Christmas in Germany with the Hein family and even exchanged some gag gifts with the man he stood toe-to-toe against less than a year ago.
“He gave me some Lederhosen underwear and I gave him a book,” Dober said. “With lots of pictures.”
Now if we could just get these two fighters to feel the same way about it each other, the world would be a better place — right? Eh, never mind.
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Last month, we learned that Manny Pacquiao has agreed to pay Floyd Mayweather Jr. $5 million if the Filipino fighter fails a drug test before the big fight on May 5. Is Mayweather refusing to do the same?
On Thursday, Pacquiao’s advisor Michael Koncz told Dan Rafael of ESPN.com that Mayweather has not agreed to the same failed drug test policy. For whatever reason, Floyd has not agreed to pay $5 million to Pacquiao if he fails a test.
“Today we were informed that Mayweather turned down the request,” Koncz said. “Manny had requested that there would be a reciprocal fine of $5 million for a failed drug test.”
Agreements for the fight have already been signed, including one with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to oversee blood and urine testing leading up to the bout. Mayweather’s people are claiming Floyd simply won’t agree to the $5 million penalty because it was not negotiated into the original fight contract.
“Michael Koncz is an idiot, and Manny Pacquiao should be ashamed to have him as his representative, in my opinion,” Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe said. “It’s obvious he didn’t read the contract. Why would he have his fighter sign something he was not happy with? The deal was negotiated up and down by his promoter [Bob Arum of Top Rank] on behalf of Manny with Floyd and Mayweather Promotions, and it’s been well documented in the media for quite some time.
“If this moron didn’t convey his fighter’s wishes when the negotiation was going on, that’s their problem. This is a lame-ass attempt to generate publicity.”
As many of you know, a potential fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather fell apart several years because of disagreements over drug testing. Mayweather is the one who accused Pacquiao of being a cheater (and was later sued for it), so it’s ironic that Floyd wouldn’t agree to the same failed drug test penalty to prove he has nothing to hide.
“It’s a simple thing — if you fail, you pay the other guy $5 million,” Koncz said. “The issue is simple — are you willing to agree to a penalty of $5 million? The drug-testing terms and any penalty, that’s between the fighters not the promoters.
Since the contract has already been signed, it’s highly unlikely that the fight will fall through. But we wouldn’t blame you for being nervous. We thought verbal sparring contests like this ended when a date was set for the fight.
Indiana Pacers forward Paul George is still working his way back from a devastating leg injury that he suffered during a USA Basketball scrimmage over the summer. Many have assumed that the 24-year-old’s days of playing internationally are now over, but that is not the case.
George is unsure if he will return to the Pacers this season, but he is confident he will be back playing again this summer. Believe it or not, he intends to participate in Team USA’s mini-camp.
“I’m in,” George told NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner earlier this week. “Of course.”
Pacers fans will likely shudder when they hear that Team USA’s mini-camp this summer will include another exhibition game at the Thomas & Mack Center on UNLV’s campus — the same venue where George snapped his leg back in August. The stanchion under the basket that he hit his leg on has since been moved further from the court.
“The day it happened, right after, I told them I looked forward to continuing on with USA basketball,” George said of the injury.
If you read the way George described his injury after it happened, you can understand why people are surprised he would risk competing with Team USA again. That said, it was a freak accident that could have happened to anyone during any game.
Shortly after George’s injury, another NBA superstar decided to take his name out of consideration for the FIBA World Cup of Basketball. That was hardly a coincidence. George’s injury may have scared other players off, but he’s not going to let it affect his career goals.
H/T Ball Don’t Lie
- Paul George
Carlos Beltran had a pretty remarkable diet when he played in the minor leagues. And when we say he had a remarkable diet, we mean we’re shocked he was able to put together such a fine career given the junk he consumed.
The New York Times did a feature Thursday on the Yankees’ attempt to change the culture of eating within their clubhouse. The team brought in a nutritionist who spoke with the players to educate them about the benefits of good nutrition. They also are changing the types of food they are offering their players at the ballpark.
In the story, The Times explains how players can have such poor diets, especially in the minor leagues. For example, they cited Beltran, who used to buy eight Taco Bell tacos a day — four to eat before a game, and four for after the game. That’s not exactly a meal of champions.
Though we know there are some athletes who love to eat their Chipotle or even stuff their face with In-N-Out Burger, those fast food diets are not recommended. They’re pretty unhealthy in general, but they’re even worse for professional athletes whose jobs including staying in peak physical condition. I’d say it’s a wonder that Beltran has put together arguably a Hall of Fame career despite his poor diet, but then again, one of the top pitchers in baseball eats Taco Bell the night before he starts and has won a Cy Young Award. Maybe that’s the secret to a successful career.
Photo: Carlos Beltran/Twitter
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- Carlos Beltran
Robert Morris will need all the help they can get in order to take down the powerful Duke Blue Devils in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday. Unfortunately, head coach Andy Toole doesn’t even have the support of his family for the game.
Toole was a guest on “Morning Men” with Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik on Mad Dog Radio Thursday morning and told the hosts that his wife is a huge Duke fan, which has rubbed off on his 2-year-old son, who will be rooting for the Blue Devils.
“I’m trying to get my wife and my 2-year-old son to root for us. As of now, my 2-year-old is rooting for Duke,” Toole told Cohen and Babs.
“My wife is a giant Duke fan. Obviously during the season we travel a lot, and she’s a huge hoops fan — she watches a lot of hoops — and my 2-year-old will send me videos when I’m on the road, and the video will say ‘Tyus (Jones) is our guy.’ So last night after the game I said, ‘Ryan, who you rooting for: Robert Morris or Duke?’ He says Duke. He’s about to be two and a half, and Duke’s his squad.”
The hosts followed up by making sure the youngster was old enough to understand that his father coaches the opponent.
“100 percent,” Toole said. “And he knows every player on our team. Right now he’s going with Duke. Hopefully he’ll be back on Bobby Mo’s side (by the time the game starts).”
Toole’s team will have to make history in order to win this one. He says he thought about becoming the first 16 seed to beat a 1 seed for about half a second, and then he saw Jahlil Okafor on tape and thought twice about how his Colonials will stop the future lottery pick. Duke is favored by 22-23 points in the game.
Best of luck to Toole in getting his family on his side … and on pulling the upset.
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- College Basketball
- Robert Morris basketball
Security must be tight at Staples Center in Los Angeles, and that’s not a bad thing. But it does mean that anybody and everybody should be prepared to show some ID — even head coaches of NBA teams.
SI reporter Chris Mannix said Thursday that Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder was stopped by security ahead of his team’s game against the LA Lakers at Staples Center:
Quin Snyder stopped briefly by Staples Center security and asked to show credential at Jazz locker room door. C'mon, that's a COY candidate!
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) March 20, 2015
Hey, I’m not knocking the security — better to be on the safe side when it comes to asking for ID, because you definitely want to make sure you’re not about to let the T-1000 into the locker room. The only good news is at least the guards shouldn’t expect to be fired unlike this poor soul.
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- Quin Snyder
A video posted by Aaron Donald (@aarondonald99) on
On Wednesday, Donald, the NFL’s reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year, posted a video to Instagram of the reaction his dad had when he presented him with a gorgeous Ram Truck. Dad was so elated he started to air box!
Now that’s how you know you hit it big with the gift! Oh, and Ram Trucks might want to think about a sponsorship deal with the Rams defensive lineman. Just saying.
H/T Bleacher Report
- Aaron Donald
Cincinnati junior forward Octavius Ellis was ejected from Thursday’s first round NCAA Tournament game against Purdue after throwing an elbow at an opponent’s throat.
Ellis was trying to box out in the second half and thought he could get away with a dirty elbow to Boilermakers center A.J. Hammons. The refs saw it, gave him a flagrant 2 foul that led to his ejection.
Ellis had seven points on 3-for-10 shooting and was averaging 10 points per game entering the contest. Radio host Chris Vernon shared this stunning detail about Ellis too:
for those that don't know – Ellis for Cincy is a Memphis kid. his step-dad killed his mother in front of his face when 10…
— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) March 20, 2015
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- College Basketball