Al Harrington didn't participate in the morning shoot-around at the Toyota Center here in freezing Houston, where only the AHL team from the Blackhawks organization (which was in town for a game last night before busing to San Antonio) seemed comfortable with the climate.
Harrington said he first felt the left calf pain during last Sunday's win over the Pacers. He tried to practice on it Wednesday, which he says was a mistake. He was unable to play Thursday against the Bobcats and he is being held out one more game to make sure the muscle heals properly so it doesn't become a chronic issue. Both Harrington and Mike D'Antoni expect the forward to be back in the lineup for Monday's game in Oklahoma City.
Meanwhile, D'Antoni seemed to indicate he will likely continue to give minutes to rookie Marcus Landry, who gets to face his big brother, Carl, tonight.
With Harrington out, however, it prompted the question as to why another rookie, Jordan Hill, wouldn't get the nod instead? D'Antoni suggested that Marcus Landry has been more impressive with his work ethic in practice and earned the spot, which should be alarming to Hill, who was only the team's lottery pick this summer. But D'Antoni quickly said that Hill will "get a chance here pretty soon, so we'll see what happens."
Some feel Hill should be in the D-League getting playing time if he's not going to play at the NBA level, but I'm not sure that's the best thing to do in these circumstances. The Knicks don't have a direct affiliate -- they share Springfield -- and therefore there is not as much hands-on direction with him there. While minutes would be great, the team believes Hill is better served staying with the team here where they can continue to work with him, monitor his progress and, of course, keep an eye on him. Some players feel when they are sent to the D-League it becomes out of sight, out of mind.
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* - The matchup to watch tonight will be all-star candidate David Lee versus Rockets forward Luis Scola, one of the grittest players in the league. The two have a high respect for each other, but it will be physical. I'm also curious to see if Shane Battier picks up Lee on defense to guard the pick-and-roll or if he is used against either Wilson Chandler or Danilo Gallinari, instead.
* - Rockets coach Rick Adelman didn't speak to the New York press contingent after his team's morning shoot-around, but recently owner Leslie Alexander said he was already planning to pick up the option in Adelman's contract "very soon."
Adelman, who holds the all-time best winning percentage in Rockets history (.650), has done a masterful job in remolding the team from being star-reliant (Tracy McGrady) to a collection of overachiving workers, led by Battier, Scola and the impressive Aaron Brooks.
I felt Adelman deserved Coach of the Year honors last season over Mike Brown and this year he's once again at the top of my list as we reach mid-season.
* - There were reports that McGrady's agent, Arn Tellem, met with Donnie Walsh last week when Tellem was at the Garden for Thursday's win over Charlotte. The Knicks certainly have had an interest in McGrady, but with the team playing well right now I don't expect any major moves to take place any time soon. The Rockets are the ones who control McGrady's destiny and it depends on what they will want before the Feb. 18 trade deadline. By then, the Knicks made decide they don't need to make that type of chemistry-altering move.