By Jerry Zgoda
New Wolves center Jason Collins is expected to miss eight weeks after undergoing surgery on a triceps tendon in his elbow on Monday in California.
He was injured in what a team spokesman called a “freak” accident that occured when his golf cart skidded on wet ground and tipped over. (An editorial comment here: Golf’s a walking game anyway, especially for a fellow as young as Mr. Collins).
If he’s sidelined for exactly eight weeks, Collins, acquired from Memphis in the draft-night Love-for-O.J. Mayo deal, would miss all of training camp and the regular season’s first week.
A year ago, Mark Madsen missed the season’s start after he was injured in a jet-ski accident.
Meanwhile, Craig Smith is supposed to be healthy enough to begin practicing with teammates starting on Monday. He underwent knee surgery Aug. 1 after injuring his knee in the one Las Vegas Summer League game he played after signing a new two-year, $4.8 million deal.
New forward Rodney Carney still is nursing a hamstring injury that caused him to miss the Vegas summer league games after the Wolves acquired him from Philadelphia.
Love says he is fully healed from a sore Achilles tendon that caused him to miss the Wolves’ final Las Vegas Summer League game in July and also prevented him from practicing with the U.S. Olympic team after he was one of 12 young NBA players selected for the opportunity.
“I was pretty upset about that,” Love said about missing the chance to “get my foot in the door” with USA Basketball officials for consideration for future Olympic teams.
He plans to join his new Wolves teammates starting Monday for preseason workouts at Target Center.
The NBA’s draft fifth player selected and your very own new Wolf is the one chosen for the cover of this season’s EA Sports college-basketball video game, named NCAA Basketball 09 appropriately enough.
Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo aren’t on the cover. Love is the guy, a fact he attributes to the UCLA mystique and the Bruins’ run to last season’s Final Four rather than his rugged good looks.
“If you saw the cover, you would know that’s not why,” Love said when asked if he was selected because of his handsome mug.
Love turned 20 on Sunday.
“A late birthday present,” he said of what he called the “honor” of being the cover boy on a game for XBox360 and PlayStation 2 and 3 that he, well, loves to play (he’s partial to controlling his beloved Bruins and North Carolina).
Love said he was proud to be the first Bruin chosen for the cover. What, Bill Walton never made it?
“I don’t think they had video games back then,” he said.