Seattle SuperSonics rookie James Cotton, who went through his first workout of the regular season Wednesday, slightly reinjured his sprained right knee during warmups Friday night.
Earlier in the day, Cotton had told Sonics management that he was ready to play. But then Cotton “tweaked” the knee and the Sonics have decided to take a more cautious approach.
“He’s a rookie,” general manager Wally Walker said, “so we want to be careful.”
Cotton was the healthiest of the Sonics’ three injured players, and was the most likely candidate to come off the injured list so injured forward Jerome Kersey (stress fracture in foot) could go on.
Now, though, the Sonics want to make sure Cotton is completely healthy before they make any moves. However, Cotton and forward Stephen Howard likely will go on Seattle’s nine-day, five-game East Coast road trip that begins in Washington on Tuesday.
“I’ll be all right,” Cotton said. Incidentally, that game against the Wizards will be the first in their new downtown Washington stadium, the MCI Center. There are rumors that President Clinton will attend the game.
Right on pace
Sonics coach George Karl said in the preseason that he thought Seattle needed 10 victories in November for this team to be where he wants.
After defeating Sacramento on Friday, the Sonics have 12 victories this month, with one to go - Sunday’s home game against Orlando.
“I am happily surprised by the success we are having,” Karl said. “But it’s not time to be happy. It is time to be better and continue, because there are still holes in our game … that we can be better at. Throwing a game away is not healthy. Let’s finish the month off, have a great run and then December is probably as hard as November.”
Karl pointed out that of the 14 games in December, nine are on the road.
“I throw carrots out to them,” Karl said. “I think December is the same thing, I think it is 10. And I think whatever you get out of November, you add 10 to that and that’s where you want to be in January. You don’t want to say, ‘We overachieved in November, we can take an easy time.’ I think December is, from a travel standpoint, as hard as any month.”
In the wake of Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen’s trade demands, Walker, who was interested in a Pippen-for-Shawn Kemp deal a few years ago, said the Sonics no longer are willing to swing a deal for Pippen.