Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sonics Return to Practice at Furtado

Having returned to Seattle following their road trip, the Seattle SuperSonics took two days off Sunday and Monday before regrouping Tuesday for their first practice at The Furtado Center in nearly two weeks.

"The last 49 or 50 days, I think we had five days off," explained Sonics Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo. "They're tired and we played that way (in Utah). I thought two days off would be good. We have a couple of guys a little bit dinged up and a couple of guys coming back. It just seemed two days off was more beneficial."

On a 2-3 road trip, the Sonics saw the team continue to come together. Point guard was a particular strong point of the trip, with Earl Watson and a healthy Luke Ridnour forming an effective combination.

"I thought they played very well," said Carlesimo. "I thought the combination was a good combination for us - some games better than others, but they had a couple of really, really strong games and in general I thought they did a really good job."

Ridnour told reporters he still has yet to reach 100% in coming back from his torn quad muscle, but he's feeling much better and Carlesimo sees that in his performance.

"Luke looks much more comfortable now in terms of his shot," Carlesimo said, "whereas early in the year when he'd missed a month and been back for three games, he wasn't shooting it the way he is capable of shooting it. Right now, I don't think he's 100%, but he's probably in better basketball shape and timing than he's been since the Sacramento game at the beginning of the year, that first exhibition game."

Now, the Sonics are looking to get Delonte West healthy. West visited a specialist and Dr. Richard Zorn, the Sonics team doctor, on Tuesday to get an update on the plantar fasciitis he's experienced in his right foot. West has been cleared to begin individual work.

"He's doing more today and tomorrow than he has been doing, so it's (his expected return) moved up a little bit," explained Carlesimo, "but he's not going to play in a game before he's done some live practicing. He hasn't played in two weeks, so he'll need at least one practice, if not more, before he's ready to go."

Carlesimo mentioned that West may see time at shooting guard when he returns to the lineup. West, who can play either position in the backcourt, has virtually exclusively played point guard this season, in part because of Ridnour's absence.

As for center Kurt Thomas, who missed Saturday's game in Utah with a sprained right ankle, he did not practice but Carlesimo described his status for Wednesday's matchup with New Orleans as, "'Hopeful' - I don't know if that's one of the categories. I think more probable than doubtful, but somewhere in there."