Injury Updates: Mahinmi ‘unavailable’ with bruised left rib
Pacers backup center Ian Mahinmi was sidelined on Tuesday for the first time this season due to an injury and is unavailable. He was not a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, but could be seen getting shots up afterwards.
“Ian’s [injury] is just one of those slow-healing things,” said coach Frank Vogel. “It’s a bone bruise to his ribs so each day hopefully it’s a little less painful. Right now he’s still unavailable.”
With Mahinmi dealing with a bone bruise, it’s even more important for the Pacers to have Andrew Bynum healthy and available. The 7-footer made his debut with the Pacers debut Tuesday night, finishing with eight points and 10 rebounds in less than 16 minutes. Vogel plans to keep Bynum out of practice Thursday so that he can complete their weekend set of back-to-back games, but it’ll undoubtedly depend on whether he’s experiencing excess soreness in his knees.
Mahinmi absorbed a hard hit from DeJuan Blair, a former teammate of his in San Antonio (2009-10), in the early stages of the second quarter of Sunday’s loss in Dallas.
“At first when it happened, I felt something but I played through it,” Mahinmi said. “And then when I sat down on the bench and towards halftime, I was like ‘Oooooh,’ and it started really bothering me. We went in, took the X-ray at halftime and decided to come back to see what I could do. After two minutes, I told coach, ‘I can’t do much out there.’
Mahinmi said they couldn’t really see anything from the X-ray and was later going to take get another one but concluded “it’s the same (treatment) if it’s cracked or if it’s only a bruise.”
The treatment is simple: frequent icing sessions, plus anti-inflammatory medicine. He’s feeling better with each new day and isn’t overly concerned with it. But it is an annoyance, as he can feel his bruised rib with nearly every movement.
“Anything with your ribs is tough,” said Mahinmi. “You cough, you feel it. You laughing (and feel it). … It’s one of the toughest [injuries] you have to deal with, to see how much pain you can tolerate.
“You got to let it heal on it’s own. It’s a tough area. You can’t really do nothing about it. It’s bone, it’s a lot of bone and lot of muscles and stuff like that.”
Just as he began wearing a mouthguard after chipping his front tooth in a win over Brooklyn on Dec. 28, Mahinmi plans to make a change to further protect his bruised rib. Normally he wears a dri-fit adidas tank top under his jersey. When he returns to the court, he’ll wear an enhanced tank top with built-in padding.
“(We’ll) see if I can do a little bit more and hopefully get back for our next game,” Mahinmi said.
Watson Still “Day-to-Day”
It’s very possible that Indiana could be without its backup point guard, C.J. Watson, for a few more games. He not only didn’t practice on Wednesday, but hasn’t shot a ball since spraining his right elbow back on March 4.
“Just passing,” he said of his practice workload. “That’s about it. That’s all they want me to do for now.”
Watson revealed after practice that his MRI, which he underwent on Monday, showed swelling of his right elbow. Coach Vogel said Watson, who’s missed their last four games, is day-to-day. Watson isn’t sure if he’ll play this weekend.
“We’ll see,” he added. “It depends on how I feel on Friday.”
George’s Back Loosening Up
Paul George continues to deal with a sore tailbone, an injury he suffered 10 days ago after a hard fall against the Utah Jazz. Though his back has gotten better, it’s still bothersome.
“It’s not as bad as a week ago,” he said. “Now it’s to the point where it doesn’t take as long to warmup but it’s still a little lingering right now.”
Before each game, assistant trainer Carl Eaton stretches it out before he takes the court for pregame warmups. George feels much better after that is done to loosen it up.
“Once I get going, it’s kinda good for that game,” he said. “It’s just all about starting it up.”
In his second game after the hard fall, he had his worst shooting night of his four-year NBA career, going 0-for-9 and finishing with just two points in 34 minutes. In the last two games, however, he’s shot better than 50 percent and had a 27-point outing in Dallas, though it was a loss.