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Blazers notebook: McCollum making progress from injury

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer
Published: December 15, 2014, 4:00pm

PORTLAND — Injured Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum seems to be inching closer toward a return.

McCollum was expected to meet with doctors Monday night to re-evaluate the finger, according to a source.

The next step for McCollum, after resuming basketball activities last week like shooting and dribbling with is right hand, is getting cleared for “contact.” His Monday meeting was expected to determine whether he can reach the next step.

McCollum broke his right index finger in three places during the Blazers’ Nov. 17 win against the New Orleans Pelicans.

“He’s making good progress, every hurdle along the way,” head coach Terry Stotts said. “I think we’re being cautious. He’s cleared to handle the ball for a long time. He wasn’t allowed to handle the ball with his right hand.”

Coaches react to Kings’ firing

The collection of NBA assistant and head coaches is one big family. Sunday, Yahoo! Sports reported that the Sacramento Kings fired head coach Mike Malone.

The mood to many was surprise as the Kings had an impressive start before star center DeMarcus Cousins missed the last nine games due to a bout with viral meningitis.

Both head coaches in Monday’s game, Stotts and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich lamented the firing of their coaching brethren.

“It’s part of the profession,” Stotts said. “Everybody understands that. But it’s always disappointing.”

“He’s a fine young coach,” the five-time champion Popovich said. “We in the business know he’s a heck of a coach. And you just have to be fortunate in such a volatile environment as pro sports. One has to hope that you have ownership that’s patient and non-meddling. Things take time.”

Added Stotts: “I know every decision that is made is made for the betterment of a franchise. But I know what a good job Mike did and that’s a little disconcerting.”

Offensive concerns?

The Blazers offense hasn’t been quite as dynamic of late. After finishing in the top-two in offensive rating last season, they rank just eighth in the league in offense.

“We’re getting good shots,” Stotts said. “Overall, I don’t want to get complacent. But mostly I’d say we’re heading in the right direction.

Grilling change

Since last season, the Blazers have had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches stationed in the corner of their locker room as a snack. This season, the Blazers have changed their routing and are now serving grilled versions of the sandwich.

“It’s a superstar PB & J,” said Thomas Robinson, probably the biggest fan of the snack on the team.

But Robinson is particular. He doesn’t like too much peanut butter.

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Columbian Trail Blazers Writer