Anfernee Simons

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: Injury Updates on Whiteside, Simons, & Nurkic

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Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: Injury Updates on Whiteside, Simons, & Nurkic

Before the Trail Blazers and Heat tip-off at 6:00p.m. tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'MyTeams' App, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts gave injury updates on Hassan Whiteside and (left leg contusion), Anfernee Simons (concussion), and Jusuf Nurkic (lower left leg).

“Hassan will play [tonight]. Anfernee will not play... [Simons] is doing much better, but he’s still under the concussion protocol,” Coach Stotts said.

Stotts also said the team has “moved past” the loss in Utah, but said they are "still disappointed."

“The good thing is that we did have a day to recover both physically and mentally.”

When asked about how much closer Nurkic is to returning to the court, Stotts offered up this update:

“There’s no timeline on Nurk when he’s gonna come back. He had a little set back. He had a mild strain in his right calf. So, the last week or 10 days, he really hasn’t been able to do much, so that’s kind of set back any kind of comeback.”

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE:

 

BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Hassan Whiteside (left leg contusion) is available. Anfernee Simons (concussion) and Nassir Little (left ankle sprain) are out for Sunday's game vs. Miami.

HEAT INJURY REPORT:

Jimmy Butler (right shoulder strain), Tyler Herro (right ankle soreness), Meyers Leonard (left ankle sprain) and Kyle Alexander (right knee hyperextension & PCL sprain) are out.

STANDOUT GAME NOTES:

-- Sunday’s game will be the second of two matchups between the Trail Blazers and the Heat during the 2019-20 season. Miami leads the season series, 1-0.

-- LAST MEETING: The Heat defeated the Trail Blazers, 122-111, on Jan. 5 in Miami. Damian Lillard paced Portland with 34 points (11-22 FG, 6-12 3-PT, 6-7 FT), 12 assists and three steals, while Goran Dragic led Miami with a season-high 29 points (11-17 FG, 7-10 3-PT), three rebounds and a season-high 13 assists.

-- Miami and Portland both rank in the top five in the NBA in three-point shooting. The Heat are second on the season at 37.8% while Portland ranks fifth at 37.0%.

-- Damian Lillard is averaging 30.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 9.5 assists in his last four games against Miami, reaching at least 30 points in three of those contests.

Anfernee Simons listed as doubtful for Sunday's game following hard fall in Utah

Anfernee Simons listed as doubtful for Sunday's game following hard fall in Utah

The Blazers were forced to a call a timeout with 20.7 seconds remaining in the first quarter against the Utah Jazz Friday night after backup guard Anfernee Simons went up for a jumper from the free throw line, but then fell hard on his back, with his head whipping back and connecting with the court.  

Simons was thrown off-balance after connecting with Royce O’Neale’s leg.

The 20-year-old did not return to the game after suffering a concussion from the hard fall.  

“I’m alright. I’ve got a little headache right now, but I think I’ll be alright,” Simons said immediately after the game.

Simons explained exactly what happened from his perspective.

“I was shooting… And, I just felt somebody’s legs come under me and I kind of fell back fast. I didn’t know. It just all happened quick. So, I snapped my head back, and I fell down pretty bad.”

He also added that he wasn’t able to brace himself at all because the play happened so fast.

“It happened so quick; I couldn’t prepare for it."

The Trail Blazers backup guard will now have to go through the NBA’s Concussion Protocol, which is a four-step process, outlined like so:

A player who had a concussion may not return to participation until:

-- He is without concussion-related symptoms at rest;

-- He has been evaluated by a physician;

--- He has successfully completed the NBA return-to-participation exertion process; and

-- A team physician has discussed the return-to-participation process and decision with theDirector of the NBA Concussion Program.

The Trail Blazers have officially listed Simons as doubtful for Sunday’s home game against the Miami Heat.  While, Hassan Whiteside (left leg contusion) is probable and Nassir Little (left ankle sprain) is out for Sunday's contest.

Instant Analysis: Emotions run high for Blazers and Jazz

Instant Analysis: Emotions run high for Blazers and Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY – The intensity level for Friday’s game may have been at an all-time high for both the Trail Blazers and the Jazz.

Fans needed to buckle up for this one!

The Trail Blazers frontcourt depth was even more depleted entering Friday's game. Portland was without starting center Hassan Whiteside (left lower leg contusion) and backup forward Nassir Little (left ankle sprain).

Going with a small-ball lineup was no easy task against Rudy Gobert and the Jazz lengthy perimeter players like Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic.

Despite the lack of height, the Blazers started out the game 23-14 behind Damian Lillard’s logo three-pointers.

It was apparent in the second quarter that these are two very competitive teams who tend to get under each other’s skin. A total of seven technical fouls were handed out in the second quarter alone, which included one three in the key violation.

But, even after losing one of their starters to an ejection, the Blazers still held a 72-58 lead at halftime.

Throughout the game it felt like a fight could break out at any moment.

After being outscored 30-17 in the third quarter, Portland held a one point lead heading into the final period.

The game came down to the wire with Utah's crowd fired up from start to finish. There was a questionable no-call as well when Lillard when up for a lay-in in the final seconds and there was no goal-tending called.

The Blazers gave it all that they had with just seven players for most of the game on the second night of a back-to-back, but it was the Jazz who came away with the win. 

FINAL BOX SCORE: JAZZ 117, TRAIL BLAZERS 114

Here are three quick takeaways from Friday’s loss:

1.  Biggie with the starting nod

With no Hassan Whiteside, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts went with 6’9” big man Caleb Swanigan at the five spot. Friday’s game was Swangian’s fourth start over his three-year career. Swangian held his own against Rudy Gobert, especially on the glass. Biggie finished with four points and 11 rebounds. Plus, he took a crucial charge in crunch time. 

2. Blazers depth went from bad to worse

Portland has been dealing with a number of injuries since the third game of the season when the Blazers lost Zach Collins to a left shoulder injury. Friday night, Portland lost Anfernee Simons to a hard fall. Simons did not return to the game after suffering a concussion.  

The second-year player went up for a jumper from the free throw line in the final seconds of the first quarter, but then ultimately fell hard on his back, with his head whipping back and connecting with the court.

The Blazers were not only without Simons for the rest of the game, but then starting forward Trevor Ariza took out his frustrations after arguing a no-foul call.  Ariza was ejected at the 10:05 mark of the second quarter after getting up in the official's face.

3.  Emotions on full display 

The technical fouls just kept coming in the second quarter while both teams showed their frustration and emotions. 

Here’s the full list of techs that happened in the second quarter:

Trevor Ariza technical foul (1st technical foul)       

Trevor Ariza technical foul (2nd technical foul)  

Double technical foul: Carmelo Anthony and Royce O'Neale

Double technical foul: Donovan Mitchell and Gary Trent Jr. –handed out at the end of the first half

Jazz fans seemed to fuel the fire with their loud cheers, boos, and sporadic chants of ‘ref, you suck.’

Entering Friday's game, the Jazz had lost just five games at home all season. 

Up Next: The Trail Blazers host the Miami Heat Sunday night. Catch all the action between the Blazers and Heat at 6:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.

Check back throughout tonight and tomorrow for more articles and videos from the player!

Anfernee Simons suffers concussion after hitting head on court

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Anfernee Simons suffers concussion after hitting head on court

SALT LAKE CITY – The Trail Blazers, who already had five players on the inactive list for Friday night's game against the Utah Jazz, lost Anfernee Simons in to a hard fall and head to court collision. 

The Blazers were forced to a call a timeout with 20.7 seconds remaining in the first quarter after Simons went up for a jumper from the free throw line, but then ultimately fell hard on his back, with his head whipping back and connecting with the court. It looked as though Simons was thrown off-balance after connecting with Royce O’Neale’s leg.

Simons laid on his back motionless before the Trail Blazers training staff was able to tend to him. Simons was helped up and walked under his own power straight to the locker room. CJ McCollum entered the game for Simons.

The Trail Blazers announced midway through the second quarter that Simons suffered a concussion and will not return. 

This post will update as information is made available.

Pat Connaughton invited to NBA Slam Dunk contest, likely snubbing Anfernee Simons

Pat Connaughton invited to NBA Slam Dunk contest, likely snubbing Anfernee Simons

When you think of Pat Connaughton, a few things come to mind.

He's a former Trail Blazer (now with the Milwaukee Bucks) who has high energy, unique athletic abilities and is willing to do the little things to help his team win. Things that don't necessarily set off alarms when Connaughton's name is spoken? Dunk contest participant.

Well, that'll soon change. 

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Connaughton has received an invite to participate in the NBA Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend. Perhaps Connaughton's 44-inch vertical leap measured at the NBA Combine will come in handy?

This will be Connaughton's first time participating in the dunk competition. Aaron Gordon, Dwight Howard, Derrick Jones Jr., each competed in previous years with Howard's last appearance coming 11 yeas ago. Considering the fact the dunk contest has been limited to four participants each of the last five years, this is likely the finalized group. 

So, what that means Trail Blazers fans is that Anfernee Simons will not be playing. 

The sophomore guard recently told NBC Sports Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes he would participate in the contest, if he was invited. 

"I'm going to be online vouching for [Simons' invite] too...He should definitely be in it," All-Star guard Damian Lillard said. 

Trail Blazers Twitter launched a Simons to dunk contest campaign in effort to get the 20-year-old into the event, but it appears the NBA is not ready for dunks like these...

Maybe next year, Ant.

The night the world honored Kobe: One nobody could prepare for, but everyone could cherish

The night the world honored Kobe: One nobody could prepare for, but everyone could cherish

LOS ANGELES -- Wearing a #24 Kobe Bryant jersey, a young fan stood outside Staples Center next to one of the signs where fans were given a chance to write messages to the late Kobe Bryant. 

With a black sharpie in his hand and tears streaming down his face, he stood there.   

He couldn’t have been more than eight years old.

Through his tears, he yelled back towards his mom, “I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write!”

In this heart wrenching moment, hours before tip-off of Friday night’s Lakers and Blazers game, it reminds us all how sometimes there are truly no words to describe what someone is going through. 

This young Kobe fan couldn’t have been old enough to see very many of Kobe’s final games in the NBA. Yet, clearly, Bryant had a huge impact on him. 

He wasn’t the only one who struggled to prepare for Friday.

The Lakers organization honored Kobe 30 minutes before tip-off and as the Blazers said, it was ‘phenomenal,’ and ‘great.’

But, it also meant Portland had to put its emotions behind them and go out and compete.

And that they did.

The Blazers beat the best team in the NBA, defeating the Lakers 127-119, behind another out of this world performance from Damian Lillard.

The entire day, though, felt out of this world.

Kobe’s tribute night will forever be a night that players, fans, coaches, and everyone in between will never forget.

It’s tough from an emotional standpoint, but he’s worthy, more than worthy. That type of love, that type of respect, and that type of honor that was given to him in the first game since it happened. It was only right. Compared to what his family has to deal with it, his closest friends have to do, us having to honor him in that way and then play a game is a small thing. -- Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard   

Lillard’s running mate CJ McCollum added 19 points and six rebounds in the win.

Despite how difficult it was, McCollum knew that they had to still do their job.

They had to be dialed in, to truly honor Kobe.

“It was very tough, very tough to go out there and play after that ceremony, but you’ve got to do your job, and make sure you don’t do a disservice to Kobe and his family and we honor him by going and playing hard, and I think we did that,” McCollum said.

“No, there’s no way to prepare for this. You just enjoy the moment, take some time to reflect, and then try to go play,” McCollum said.  

While, Lillard dubbed the tribute as Kobe being worthy of such an honor, McCollum said the ceremony was appropriate for a man that has done so much, and not just in the basketball community.

It was great, it was phenomenal, like LeBron says -- it was a celebration of a great person, a great man who has done a lot to change not only the basketball world, but the world in general. I thought it was appropriate for him and his family and all the ones that were lost -- Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum

Let's also discuss:  “Kobe... to Shaq!!”

That is a phrase that people have imprinted in the brains, especially in Rip City.

But, for Hassan Whiteside, there was a day when he pretended that he was Shaquille O’Neal and his teammate was Kobe.

That was just one memory that ran through Whiteside's mind during Friday’s tribute.

“I was trying to hold back tears,” Whiteside said.  “Just growing up with a Kobe poster, watching him play through all the years with Shaq. My teammate [was] Kobe, I [was] Shaq, just growing up.”

Whiteside continued, “It’s unreal. Some people you think is invincible, he’s definitely one of them. The world lost a superhero for sure.”

During Portland’s three game winning streak, Trevor Ariza has been a big contributor.

He spoke for the first time about Kobe since the fatal helicopter crash.  

It was very tough, very, very hard. We spent a lot of time together. We talked a lot, even after we weren’t teammates. He was a like a brother to me, just like a big brother… I don’t know what else to say. – Trail Blazers veteran Trevor Ariza

As Ariza tried to hold back tears in the locker room, next to him stood Anfernee Simons.

Simons was looking at the night through a different lens.

It was definitely a sad day, but it’s also a day we celebrate his legacy and his life. You’ve just got to look at it that way, and just go out there and play for him, go out there and compete, play hard, that’s the only thing he would want.  -- Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons said postgame

Those are some very wise words from the young man.

Emotions did, however, spill over into the game.

Or, at least there was some real frustration shown midway through the third quarter when Lillard was charged with a technical foul after arguing with the officials on what he believed should’ve been a foul called.

But, Blazers fans knew what that meant.

Lillard gets mad.

Lillard gets going.

The All-Star point guard scored 23 points and was 6-of-7 from three in the third quarter to bring his third quarter total to 42 points. He added three rebounds and three assists in the quarter. 

There’s a simple way of describing Lillard’s third quarter performance – just ask Anfernee Simons:

“Going bananas. When he gets in that mode there’s not much you can do.”

Lillard went bananas, alright. He finished with 48 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds.

“He’s been killing. He’s locked in, he’s efficient. He’s playing at an elite level,” McCollum said.

Simons added, “He’s been playing unbelievable, just doing it all. He just goes out there and doing what he does. It’s been fun watching him play like that.”

Lillard with the Mamba Mentality is the most fitting way to end the Kobe Day.

But, just because the big night is over, obviously, it doesn’t mean LA and the rest of the world won’t continue to honor the late Kobe Bryant.

Like Whiteside said, there could really be an infinite number of tributes for the legend that wore both #8 and #24.  

“They did a great job with the tribute, and they did the most they could in the time frame they could. We could do a lifelong tributes for Kobe,” Whiteside said.

As for that young Kobe fan, he will have a lifetime to think of his message to his idol, but right now there are still no words.  Just memories.

Sounds like Trail Blazers dodged a bullet with Anfernee Simons' rolled ankle

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Sounds like Trail Blazers dodged a bullet with Anfernee Simons' rolled ankle

In a season that has been defined by injuries, it sounds like the Trail Blazers avoided anything serious in Monday night’s win over the Warriors.
With 1:28 to go in overtime, after he hit a clutch three-pointer, shooting guard Anfernee Simons was subbed out of the game. 

He rolled his ankle in making that three. 
Simons did not return to action.
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts offered up a quick update on Simons.

He turned his ankle; I don’t think it’s bad, but he turned it. -- Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said postgame.

Simons was receiving treatment after the game and was not made available to the media.
The good thing for Simons and the Blazers is they now have 2 days in-between their next game.
The Blazers will use Tuesday as a ‘health and performance day’ to get their bodies right.
Portland hosts Dallas on Thursday night.

Sick and tired, battered and bruised, Trail Blazers end trip with loss

Sick and tired, battered and bruised, Trail Blazers end trip with loss

MINNESOTA – Battered, bruised, sick and tired in their locker room after the game, the Portland Trail Blazers looked as if they’d been in a cage fight – and the cage won.

The Minnesota Timberwolves put a physical 116-102 whipping on them Thursday night, the final bout of a five-game, 10-day road trip that appeared to have gone one game and two days too long for the Trail Blazers.

Mario Hezonja was nursing a sore back from a nasty fall. Anthony Tolliver was icing a sore elbow as a result of another bad fall. Damian Lillard was still working the kinks out of a hyper-extended arm. Anfernee Simons had four stitches taken under his right eye. Hassan Whiteside was taking an IV for an upper-respiratory problem that had already weakened CJ McCollum. And I probably missed someone else… it was that kind of night.

Portland led by as many as eight in the first quarter but then just got clobbered in the second and third quarters. The Wolves won the second quarter 31-13 and the third 41-27.

“The first quarter, we scored the ball well,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “They had nine second-chance points that kept them in the game in the first quarter. In the second quarter, our offense was pretty poor. We didn’t have an assist in the quarter. Didn’t make shots, didn’t pass the ball well. They were able to get out in transition, and it made their offense that much better.”

Then, with a six-point lead going into the second quarter, things went sideways very fast.

“I thought some of our guys looked tired,” Stotts said. “Whether it was the road trip, the last game of the road trip or the illnesses that are going around, I don’t know. It looked like we weren’t able to sustain the energy level after the first quarter.”

But the Timberwolves’ lead was only a dozen at the half and in the NBA, that’s not a big advantage to overcome in two quarters. But the tank was empty, it seemed.

“They came out and hit three threes early,” Stotts said. “When you’re down 12 at the half, those first five minutes of the third quarter are important. You want the lead to get down to single digits instead of ballooning up. They gained the momentum right at the start of the third quarter and all of a sudden, it’s a 20-point game. And that’s pretty deflating.”

And the Trail Blazers seemed powerless to stop it.

“You know, that edge and that energy just wasn’t there,” Damian Lillard said. “It just felt like, overall, we were a little bit tired. We’ve been on the road a long time and we just didn’t have the kind of energy that we needed tonight. Not a great effort by our team.”

Lillard finished with 20, CJ McCollum and Whiteside with 15.

And the sad thing for Portland is that it gets just one day of rest, Friday, before the Milwaukee Bucks arrive Saturday night in Moda Center.

No rest for the weary in the NBA.

Anfernee Simons wants to participate in the Dunk Contest

Anfernee Simons wants to participate in the Dunk Contest

Anfernee Simons to the NBA dunk contest?

If asked, he'd love to.

Portland Trail Blazers sophomore guard Anfernee Simons talked to NBC Sports Northwest Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes following shoot-around Tuesday afternoon about whether he wants an invite to the NBA Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star weekend. 

If they invite me I'll participate. -- Simons

He went on to say that he's not going to campaign for an invite and rather let his teammates do the talking, such as Damian Lillard.

"I'm going to be online vouching for [Simons' invite] too...He should definitely be in it."

Dame already put the word out last season following the contest.

If Dame's words don't pull enough, Simons' bounce should be enough to warrant an invite on its own.

"I might not be the most acrobatic...but I can jump really high and use that to my advantage."

Against the Miami Heat on Sunday, Simons showed off his hops on a massive dunk along the baseline over former Blazer Meyers Leonard.

If Simons were to participate in the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, he would become the first Trail Blazer to participate since Damian Lillard in 2014. Lillard is the first player ever to participate in all five All-Star events in the same weekend.

Other Blazers to be in the Dunk Contest include: Clyde Drexler (1984-85, 1987-89), Jerome Kersey (1986-89), James Robinson (1994), and Rudy Fernandez (2009).

Last season, Simons also had some fun putting on a show for his teammates.

Simons also had insane bounce in high school.

Other participants in this year's Dunk Contest: Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers) and Derrick Jones Jr. (Miami Heat), with Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies) and Zach Lavine (Chicago Bulls) mulling their decisions.

What do you say Blazers fans? Do you think Simons could win?

Anfernee Simons puts on Dunk Contest worthy show in front of family and friends

Anfernee Simons puts on Dunk Contest worthy show in front of family and friends

Sunday night's game in Miami featured two teams.

It looked like a game where a team, let’s call them the Heat, had it clicking on cylinders against a team, let’s call them the Trail Blazers, that is fighting through injuries, illness, and a losing season.

Miami cruised to a 122-111 victory Sunday after holding a nearly 20-point lead for a majority of the game.  

Damian Lillard did everything he could to provide a scoring punch. He finished with 34 points on 11-of-22 shooting.

But, another bright spot for Portland was the play from young gun Anfernee Simons.

The second-year player put on a show in front of his family and friends that made the trip up from Orlando.

Portland was even more shorthanded than they expected when they visited the Heat.

CJ McCollum was sidelined with an upper respiratory infection. The Trail Blazers starting shooting guard has been dealing with the illness over the last few days. Gary Trent, Jr. got the starting nod for the second time this season.

It was Simons, though, who started at shooting guard to begin the second half.

Simons’ parents and grandparents were in attendance after his parents flew from Portland to Orlando and then made the 239 mile trek to Miami Sunday morning. Simons also mentioned how he had more family and friends in Miami in the crowd as well.

The 20-year-old was the beneficiary of a handful of backdoor cuts and passes from Damian Lillard. Simons had 12 points at the end of the third quarter. 

“I think I played pretty well," Simons told reporters. "I made a lot of mental mistakes, but I kept trying to fight through it, keep playing. I think we did well of coming back and keep fighting in the second half."

Simons finished the game with 19 points on 8-of- 15 shooting, including 20-of-6 from three. He also had four assists and four rebounds on the night.

But it was he mid-third quarter dunk that had social media buzzing, and Simons grinning.

Of his monster dunk, Simons said he hasn’t had one like that since high school.

And then there was the play action early in the third quarter that has a lot of definitely route options.

Yet, this was the first time Simons caught the lob and hammered it home on this specific play.

 

These two highlight-dunks obviously make Blazers fans smile when thinking about Ant’s future.

They put a smile on Simons' face too.

The future might be Lob City with Anfernee Simons in Portland... And, everybody knows it or is it at least smiling about it for now.