Ex-Cats notes: Bledsoe has knee surgery, plus updates on Rondo and Knight

January 10, 2014 

Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

The Suns termed Friday's surgery by team doctor Thomas Carter a success. No timetable was given for Bledsoe's return but the team said in a news release that he "will pursue a possible return to action during the second half" of the season.

Bledsoe was having the finest season of his career after being acquired by the Suns from the Los Angeles Clippers in the off-season, averaging 18 points and 5.8 assists per game.

The former University of Kentucky star and Goran Dragic formed the double-point guard backcourt that had been the catalyst of the Suns' surprising start to the season.

This is the second time in a little over three years that the 24-year-old player has undergone surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the same knee. The first surgery was performed Oct. 7, 2011, during the NBA lockout of that season.

The Suns, who were playing at Memphis on Friday night, are one of the NBA's most surprising teams with a 21-13 record. They are 16-8 with Bledsoe and 5-5 without him. He missed six games earlier this season with a bruised shin and has been sidelined the last four with what the team initially said was a sprained right knee.

Bledsoe's offense, particularly his lane penetration, has been a critical part of his success, but his defense probably will be more sorely missed.

"Guys are going to have to step it up," Suns Coach Jeff Hornacek told azcentral.com. "It's unfortunate that he's going to miss some games but I think the more they'll get used to the rotation, hopefully that'll make us better."

The injury comes at a tricky juncture in Bledsoe's career financially. He will become a restricted free agent at the end of this season and, while the Suns have indicated they would match any offer for him, it's possible that two knee surgeries in his first four NBA seasons might diminish his value, at least somewhat.

■ Former Kentucky teammate John Wall said he reached out to Bledsoe after hearing about the injury.

"I texted him to keep his head up. Hope for a speedy recovery," Wall told The Washington Post. "He said he's holding his head high. It's just a bump in the road. He told me to keep playing the way I'm playing and go and make the All-Star Game. ... It's kind of sad to see him go down, because he probably was going to be most improved player and he was having a career year."

Rondo says he'll be back before All-Star break

Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who has yet to play a game this season as he recovers from knee surgery, told The Boston Globe that he plans to return before the All-Star break, which is in mid-February. "It may be this month, next month. It'll be before All-Star Break," Rondo told the newspaper.

"I haven't had any swelling," he said. "I'm wearing my brace. At times when I play, it doesn't feel like I have it on. No setbacks. It's just, I'm taking my time."

Rondo said that his conditioning is still a hurdle.

"I feel like I'm ready now, but I'm not in shape," Rondo said in a Yahoo Sports report. "I can go out there and I can give the team 10 minutes. I want to be productive out there. I don't want to limp or drag behind because of my cardio. That would be hurting the team.

"I don't want to be selfish and go out there and not be able to go up and down every possession and give it all I got. That's what I can't do right now."

A Yahoo Sports source said Jan. 17 against the Los Angeles Lakers is Rondo's target for a return. But Rondo told The Globe, "I don't know where that came from. ... Honestly, I don't (have a targeted return date.)"

The four-time All-Star point guard's return has been uncertain since the team announced during a double-overtime win against Miami on Jan. 27, 2013, that he would have season-ending surgery. He had injured his knee two days earlier against Atlanta.

"It's boring sitting over there," Rondo told Yahoo Sports about missing all of the season so far. "It's boring especially feeling like you can play. This is the game you love. It's a game I've dominated."

Knight 'coming along real fine,' coach says

The Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Knight has stepped up his game of late, starting with 37 points against the Lakers on New Year's Eve.

He's averaging a team-high 15.2 points and 4.5 assists per game.

"Brandon is coming along real fine," Bucks Coach Larry Drew told the Journal Sentinel of Milwaukee on Wednesday. "I love his relentless attack on the rim. When he goes to the basket, he's not afraid of the collision. That just tells you how much heart he has."

Knight told the newspaper that he's been concentrating on getting to the rim.

"I don't think I have a problem getting by my man," Knight told the Journal Sentinel. "With the personnel we have on our team, we shoot a lot of jump shots sometimes.

"So I try to be aggressive. When I drive it can lead to other things as well, not just finishing. With my ability to shoot the basketball and also my speed and quickness, I like to mix it up."

Drew said he's happy with Knight's performance on defense, too.

"My main thing when I'm guarding a guy I know is going to shoot a lot, is making sure I'm making every shot as hard as possible," Knight told the newspaper. "Making sure he doesn't get any easy ones to get his confidence going."

Knight told the Journal Sentinel that even though he's happy with his own progress, there's more work to be done.

"My main focus right now is getting the team right," Knight said. "I know I work hard. Individual play will take care of itself because of the amount of work you put in."

Friday's highlights

■ The Indiana Pacers rolled to a 93-66 victory at home against the Washington Wizards. Indiana (29-7) used an 11-3 run in the third quarter to start the rout.

Trying for their first four-game win streak on the road since February 2008, the Wizards (16-18) stumbled at the foul line. They finished 9-for-23 on free throws.

Washington lost to the Pacers for the 11th time in 12 tries and haven't won at Indiana since April 18, 2007.

John Wall, who finished with 13 points, shot 4-for-15 from the field Friday and is 8-for-29 in his past two games in Indianapolis.

"I thought we did a great job moving the ball early in the game and sticking with it," John Wall said. "But you can't stay in the game when you are missing free throws like we were."

■ Anthony Davis had 21 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots in the New Orleans Pelicans' 107-90 home loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Darius Miller added four points in 18 minutes.

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