From what I gather ... Renaldo Balkman has not been suspended by the NBA. He would not be allowed to be on the floor with the team if he was under suspension (just like J.R. Smith is not with the team right now.)
Is Balkman perhaps serving a team suspension for the first two games? Is he injured?
Ben Golliver from Blazers Edge had this to say about Balkman's pregame routine from his post game comments last night.
Also check this photo Ben snapped of Balkman.
If you know anything about me at this point you know I love watching pre-game warm-ups for hours on end. Tonight Nuggets reserve Renaldo Balkman came out with his legs in crazy bandages covering pads that extended all the way up to his knees. Here's a picture.
About halfway through his personal warmup Balkman took the pads off and continued shooting without them. He was working with an assistant coach and was required to make 5 shots from a number of different positions. Once he had made 4 shots, the coach would motivate him by yelling "money ball" as he passed the ball out. When Balkman worked his way to the right baseline, the coached yelled this again and Balkman responded by shooting an airball roughly 5 feet over the hoop, completely clearing the weakside ball girl. The ball continued bouncing until it interrupted a conversation between Blazers VP of Basketball Operations Tom Penn and Nuggets VP Player Personnel Rex Chapman that was taking place off the court entirely, next to the Nuggets bench. Chapman returned the ball to the ball girl who returned it to the assistant coach. Undaunted, the coach passed the ball to Balkman saying simply, again, "money ball."
Arguably the best focus from a coach during pre-game warmups I've ever witnessed. And, start to finish, one of the more memorable pre-game routines from a player.
Be sure to read Blazers Edge's recap as well ... some good stuff by Ben who is fully credentialed and bringing you great insight from behind the scenes.
Pressure busts pipes.
It's the nightmare scenario basketball players of all ages fear. Step to the foul line in the final seconds with a chance to put your team over the top in a tight, hard-fought game against a bitter rival. Miss the first, miss the second, ballgame.
That was Greg Oden's nightmare Thursday night, as Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets rebounded the second miss, drew a foul, and calmly sunk two free throws on the other end to give the Nuggets a 97-94 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in the Rose Garden. A desperation heave by Brandon Roy as the clock expired was well wide.
After the game, Oden dressed slowly in a quiet locker room, his back turned to the media throng. Once dressed, he spoke softly and didn't smile. His first words: "I stepped up there with confidence thinking I was going to hit them and it didn't go that way. I put this loss on me. I need to step up to make those."
It was exactly the statement and attitude that you want to hear from Oden in that situation but there were plenty of forks in the road over the course of evening, alternate paths that could have prevented his nightmare scenario, a situation he said he couldn't remember facing previously during his career.