Friday, April 26, 2013

Westbrook injury hurts Thunder's NBA title hopes

Russell Westbrook injury hurts Thunder's NBA title hopes

The Oklahoma City Thunder suffered a massive blow to their NBA title hopes today, when All-Star guard Russell Westbrook was ruled out indefinitely because of upcoming surgery on his right knee.

The 24-year-old suffered a lateral meniscus tear during the second quarter of Oklahoma's 105-102 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday (NZT), a win that put them up 2-0 in the first-round best-of-seven playoff series.

Westbrook, a three-time National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star who averaged 23.2 points during the regular season, will have surgery in the coming days, but no timetable has been set for his return, the team said in a statement.

"Our players' health is our first and foremost concern," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said. "The Thunder's medical team and several specialists we consulted with determined that Russell undergo a procedure to address the issue.

"We have thoroughly discussed this with Russell. Despite being the competitor and team-mate that he is, he respects and understands the decision, and is committed to come back even stronger.

"Certainly, Russell is a leader and core player for this team, but we are in the midst of the playoffs, and I know other players are determined to step up and contribute."

Westbrook, who has never missed an NBA game during five seasons in the league, was injured while going for a steal, when his knee collided with Rockets rookie Patrick Beverley's hip.

Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, a four-time All-Star, said the team would have to "rally around each other and play Thunder basketball" in Westbrook's absence.

"We're not trying to rush him or bring him back ahead of schedule," Durant, 24, said. "We want to make sure he's healthy and his knee is right.

"That's our only concern with it right now. All he has to worry about is him getting healthy."

The top-seeded Thunder, who won the Western Conference last season, are widely regarded as the biggest challenger to the NBA champion Miami Heat during this campaign.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Clippers' Paul wins Kia Community Assist Award for April

Clippers' Paul wins Kia Community Assist Award for April

NEW YORK -- Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul is the recipient of the "Kia Community Assist Award" for April in recognition of his outstanding efforts in the community, ongoing advocacy, and philanthropy, the NBA announced today.

Kia and the NBA are honoring Paul for his commitment to the well-being of youth, as well as his continuous efforts through the CP3 Foundation. The six-time NBA All-Star is passionate about using his influence to enhance the work of national and international non-profit organizations to help communities around the world. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Paul is showing his support as a spokesperson for Prevent Child Abuse America, a national organization that works to ensure the healthy development of children. Paul is currently featured in Prevent Child Abuse America's Ties for a Cause campaign, with proceeds benefitting the organization, and also participated in a fundraising auction to raise additional funds for the organization.

"I learned at an early age that you can make a major difference in someone's life by supporting your community," said Paul. "Community service is not something I have to do; it's something I want to do. While donating money is important, it is also important to be visible in the community and sharing time with people so that they know you care."

Paul demonstrates an even greater commitment to service through the CP3 Foundation, which strives to enhance and promote education, health, sports, and social responsibility for youth and families. Established in 2005, the foundation focuses on enriching communities through a number of initiatives, including the Nathaniel Jones Scholarship Fund, the CP3K Walk for Kids, CP3 Afterschool Zone, and the Jada Paul Prom Dress Giveaway.

This month, the CP3 Foundation held its 2nd annual Jada Paul Prom Dress Giveaway for 130 high school juniors/ seniors. Teenage girls from the Los Angeles area took part in a day full of dress selection, beauty giveaways, and motivational speakers. Prior to tonight's home game against the Memphis Grizzlies, NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier will be on hand to present Paul with the "Kia Community Assist Award." Paul will receive the David Robinson Plaque with the inscription, "Following the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson who improved the community piece by piece." In addition, Kia and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Chris Paul's behalf to the CP3 Foundation.

Kia Motors has been an NBA Cares partner since 2010. The league presents the "Kia Community Assist Award" monthly throughout the season as well as a final award at the end of the season to recognize players for their year-round charitable efforts. The award honors the NBA player who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their communities.

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