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Pippen Day-to-Day After Injuring Ankle

May 30, 1997|From Associated Press

Michael Jordan still has three great years left, Coach Phil Jackson wants to return, and the Chicago Bulls will keep winning NBA titles if their nucleus stays together.

So says Scottie Pippen, whose immediate future is slightly less murky than his team's long-range outlook.

Pippen has what the team is calling a "soft tissue injury to the bottom of his left foot." The Bulls said Thursday that X-rays and an MRI revealed no fractures or ligament damage and listed the All-Star forward's status as day-to-day heading into Game 1 of the NBA finals against Utah on Sunday.

"I'm not concerned," Pippen said Thursday. "If I put forth a lot of effort treating myself, I should be fine."

Pippen had to leave Wednesday's Eastern Conference clincher in the first quarter, but the Bulls still defeated the Miami Heat, 100-87, to earn a shot at their fifth title in seven years.

Even before the injury, Pippen had plenty on his mind.

He, like everyone else associated with the Bulls, wonders if the team will be kept intact.

Pippen has a year left on his contract and could be traded if the Bulls don't re-sign Jordan and Jackson, each finishing a one-year deal. Dennis Rodman also is unsigned beyond this season.

Pippen doubts Jordan would leave Chicago but doesn't think Jordan was bluffing when he threatened to retire if Jackson goes. Jordan, 34, is being paid $30.14 million this season.

"He wants to play on a team that can contend for the title. At this stage of his career, he doesn't want to be one of these guys just playing for the money," Pippen said.


The Vancouver Province reported that Grizzly General Manager Stu Jackson will interview the Bulls' Jackson for the vacant coaching job.

"We should explore that [coaching] market without regard to [a candidate's] prospective salary, initially," Stu Jackson told the Vancouver Sun. "If salary becomes an issue, then certainly, with any of our candidates, we would go to the next option."


The Denver Nuggets reached into their past Thursday, hiring former fan favorite Bill Hanzlik as their new coach.

Hanzlik, who has no head coaching experience and just completed one season as an Atlanta Hawks assistant, is Denver's seventh coach this decade.

He inherits a team that went through two coaches and two general managers last season and finished 21-61--one game better than the worst record in franchise history.

Allan Bristow, Denver's vice president of basketball operations, fired coach Dick Motta shortly after the season and now will try to rebuild with Hanzlik, a longtime friend.

Hanzlik, 39, spent five seasons as an assistant when Bristow coached the Charlotte Hornets. He also played for the Nuggets while Bristow was a Denver assistant to Doug Moe from 1984-90.

The Nuggets have the No. 5 pick in the June 25 draft, and they return young talent that includes power forward Antonio McDyess and guard Bryant Stith.

But their best player, LaPhonso Ellis, faces a long rehabilitation from a ruptured Achilles' tendon.


Former University of Hawaii Manoa player Seth Sundberg is getting a shot with the Lakers.

Sundberg, 7 feet 1, was invited to attend the Lakers' summer camp.

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