Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris will miss the next six weeks after being diagnosed with transient cervical neuropraxia, the team announced.
Morris was diagnosed Wednesday at a clinic in Dallas after experiencing neck and upper back stiffness following a blow to the chin in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers in mid-December. He aggravated the injury Dec. 26 against the Pistons, the team said.
After an MRI came back clean, Morris saw back specialist Dr. Andrew Dossett, who diagnosed the injury.
—Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma is listed as questionable to play Friday night against the New York Knicks due to a bruised lower back.
The diagnosis came from an MRI performed Thursday.
Kuzma was injured Wednesday night during the Lakers’ 107-100 home loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He played 16 minutes before exiting at halftime, and he did not return.
—Toronto All-Star guard Kyle Lowry had hoped to return from a back injury to face the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night, but the Raptors ruled him out more than an hour before game time.
Lowry went through a strenuous pregame workout but still wound up sitting out his fourth consecutive game.
Earlier in the day, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said at team’s shootaround in San Antonio there was an “outside chance” that Lowry could play.
—Memphis players Omri Casspi and Garrett Temple had to be separated during a postgame meeting that turned physical following the Grizzlies’ Wednesday night loss to the Detroit Pistons, The Athletic and ESPN reported.
Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff called a closed-door, locker-room meeting with players and coaches following the Grizzlies’ third straight loss. The Athletic reported that Casspi took umbrage with criticism that the bench unit was not playing with enthusiasm, leading to words being exchanged with Temple and a brief altercation.
“When losing happens, obviously emotions get frayed and we’re very passionate and competitive people in this game,” Memphis general manager Chris Wallace said. “Unfortunately, we had an incident.”
—Lakers star LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo lead their respective conferences in the first tally of fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game.
According to totals released by the league, James is the first player to get more than 1 million votes (1,083,363) for the Feb. 17 showcase in Charlotte, N.C.
The other leading vote-getters in the West include Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic, Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose. Joining Antetokounmpo among the top five in the East are Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
—Field Level Media