Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard CJ McCollum scored 13 points in his debut for the D-League's Idaho Stampede in Boise on Friday. The game marked the first live action McCollum has seen since the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League, as he broke a bone in his left foot during training camp.
McCollum shot 6-for-13 from the field and 0-for-4 from deep, while adding six assists, six rebounds, two steals and three turnovers in 17 minutes off the bench for coach Michael Peck. The Stampede lost 109-104 to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Here's a quick highlight reel via Dane Carbaugh, who posted it here at AYoungSabonis.com.
Here's a game highlight reel from Bryan Levin of KBOI2.com.
McCollum offered these thoughts before the game on Twitter.
It's been so long since I had an actual game day. Thank ya lord. Only thing on the mind of a shark is eat
Here's his post-game reaction via Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com.
"I thought it went okay," McCollum told CSNNW.com. "I felt good in terms of movement. There was no pain. It was good to run up and down the court and play in a real game. The great thing is no injuries. Obviously you want to get the win, but I felt like it was a good start and something to build on."
Update: More from Gino Pilato for The Oregonian here...
Asked if he felt any pain or discomfort during the game, McCollum said, "No, I just wanted to play more, but it's hard. I'm just trying to make sure I do things the right way, small sacrifices now for the long term gain."
Idaho Stampede coach Mike Peck was particularly impressed.
"I think overall he blended in really well with our guys considering he only had one practice with us, and then was thrown out there into the fire," he said.
More from Scott Rafferty at Ridiculous Upside here...
McCollum's night wasn't perfect, however. He did turn the ball over three times in those 17 minutes and he failed to knock down a shot from three, missing all four of his attempts. He also got caught ball watching a few times on the defensive end and in the closing minute of the second quarter, he looked slightly winded and as a result, made a pair of sloppy plays. The Stampede also failed to win the game, losing by nine points to the Vipers, who had a monster game from Covington - 36 points, 14 rebounds and five steals.
But what did we expect? This was the first game McCollum has played in nearly a year and he was bound to make some mistakes. Despite that, he played with lots of energy, pushed the ball on the fast-break several times, made great plays on both ends of the court and most importantly, looked healthy. And while he only knocked down two of the seven jump-shots he attempted, he looked comfortable taking them and none were bad misses.
More from Chris Langrill of the Idaho Statesman here...
"It's an ideal situation for recovering from an injury," McCollum said. "Besides summer league, I haven't played a game since Jan. 5 of 2013. So, it's been awhile. It's great for me to kind of get my feet underneath me and get some game experience."
Portland Assistant General Manager Bill Branch attended the game.
"He probably looked as well as he could have," Branch said. "I like the way he played. ... I was proud of his ability to create passes."
Here's a highlight tape from YouTube user nbadleague...
Blazers coach Terry Stotts told reporters on Thursday that McCollum would play two games with the Stampede before rejoining the Blazers for practice on Monday. McCollum and the Stampede will play the Vipers on Saturday and he could then make his NBA debut as soon as Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings.
McCollum broke the fifth metatarsal of his left foot during training camp, and he discussed the injury right here. He underwent an ultrasound procedure to treat the injury in mid-October and had been listed as out indefinitely since. McCollum underwent a follow-up in mid-November and a CT scan in mid-December, and he was cleared to practice on Dec. 20 after being cleared for three-on-three action on Dec. 12.
McCollum previously broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot back in January 2013, and he underwent surgery after sustaining that injury. His initial recovery timeline after that injury was set at 8-to-10 weeks but he did not return for the rest of the 2012-13 NCAA season. McCollum did not participate in the skills portion of the Chicago pre-draft combine in May but he went through a solo workout with the Blazers in June.
McCollum, 22, was taken with the No. 10 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He averaged 21 points, 4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 34.6 minutes over five Summer League appearances.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter