After their first day off since the start of training camp, the Portland Trail Blazers returned to practice Sunday morning at their facility in Tualatin. Some updates …
– Nicolas Batum continues to watch practice from the sidelines as he waits for the symptoms of a concussion suffered on October 8 to completely subside. Batum said he would have like to have practiced with the team on Sunday but was disallowed due to headaches, one of the most common side effects of concussion.
“I did a couple tests, came back on the floor to get some shots, because that’s the NBA protocol, I think,” said Batum. “I wanted to practice this morning but still got some headaches so I can’t to anything. I have to be, like, symptom-free to even, like, start running.”
Batum said he hoped to pass the tests required by the NBA’s concussion protocols on Monday and then return to full-contact practices on Tuesday, which is also the same day the team will travel to Utah to take on the Jazz on Wednesday.
– Joel Freeland, who drew praise from LaMarcus Aldridge for his defensive effort Friday night against the Jazz, sat out the second half of practice and will undergo x-rays on his right ring finger. Freeland experienced pain and swelling in the finger after getting hit in the hand while attempting a shot during practice.
“I went up for a shot inside the paint. I got hit by two or three people,” said Freeland. “It felt alright afterwards. I carried on through the practice a little bit but then it started getting worse and worse, so I stopped.”
This is not the first time Freeland has had issue with his right hand, as he was bothered during much of the 2013-13 season by a torn ligament in his right index finger. The injury did not require surgery, though he did wear a splint to protect the finger from further damage.
The nature and the severity of the injury won’t be known until after Freeland undergoes x-rays, which he is scheduled to do Sunday afternoon, though he sounded determined to play regardless of the prognosis.
“I’ve played with a broken hand before as well,” said Freeland, “so it’s not going to bother me.”
– In other injury news, Meyers Leonard (right strained foot), Earl Watson (left calf contusion) and Dorell Wright (right middle finger) all participated in practice, which head coach Terry Stotts categorized as “relatively light”, on Sunday. All three sat out Portland’s 96-86 victory against the Jazz in Boise, ID on Friday.
Stotts said, after an off-day on Saturday and a light practice on Sunday, that he expects Monday’s practice to be “high energy” and “pretty competitive.” If Watson and Wright are able to participate fully during that practice, it’s conceivable that both will play in Wednesday’s game in Utah, which would be the first preseason appearance this season for both players.