“He just stepped funny,” Sonics coach Paul Westphal said. “I don’t think any other person was involved. He just rolled it.”
Injuries at shootarounds are “very rare,” Westphal said, since players are usually just jogging through offensive and defensive sets. No NBA coach has his team scrimmage or engage in even minimal contact the day of a game. The sessions are so casual, Seattle players don’t even tape their ankles.
“I know some coaches are paranoid about shootarounds,” Westphal said. “They make guys get taped because some player got hurt in a shootaround once so (the coaches) make all the guys tape their ankles the rest of their lives. But I can’t remember (a shootaround injury) ever happening with a team I’ve been around.”
Barry might be able to return in a few days, Westphal said, but it could also be a week or two. The good news is that Barry did not have “an excessive amount of (immediate) swelling. … It doesn’t seem to be one of those sprains that blows up like a balloon right away and you say, ‘Oh, man, that’s six weeks.’ It’s not one of those.”
Barry was in street clothes for Tuesday’s game.
There is a new owner (Michael Heisley), a new team president (Dick Versace) and a new coach (Sidney Lowe), though the team’s long-range strategy is unchanged.
“They’ve been patient in building their team,” Westphal said. “They’ve had high draft choices and they’ve hung on to them, except for Steve Francis (who refused to sign with Vancouver last season and was traded to Houston), and they’ve been trying to develop those guys. Every year, with that plan, they figure to get a little bit better.
“I think they’re optimistic they’ll be a lot better this year,” Westphal said.
The Nuggets have never won a game at KeyArena, which opened for the 1995-96 season. Denver has not won a game in Seattle since Feb. 9, 1993. That is a string of 14 consecutive Sonics wins.
Denver is led by forward Antonio McDyess, who teamed with Seattle’s Gary Payton and Vin Baker on the United States Olympic team. McDyess played sparingly (18.4 minutes per game) in the preseason, but is coming off a season in which he averaged 19.1 points and 8.5 rebounds a game.
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