Shootaround notes: Hornets-Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum and guard Jerryd Bayless are listed as probable for tonight’s game against the New Orleans Hornets at the Rose Garden.
The Blazers will start Andre Miller, Steve Blake, Martell Webster, LaMarcus Aldridge and Jeff Pendergraph.
Blazers coach Nate McMillan said the decision to play Batum and Bayless will be a game-time decision.
Asked what would make the difference for Batum (right shoulder) to be activated for the first time this season, McMillan said, “How he he feels before the game.”
Bayless (sprained left ankle) said he was confident he would be healthy enough to take the court.
“I’m going to play,” Bayless said. “I’m going to try.”
Meanwhile, Batum told the media he also expected to play. The Blazers, though, stated that the second-year forward is still listed as probable and has not been added to tonight’s active list.
Batum averaged 5.4 points and 2.8 rebounds while starting 76 games as a rookie for Portland last season.
The 6-foot-8, 200-pound native of Lisieux, France was slated to be the Blazers’ opening-day starter at the small forward position this year.
However, Batum reinjured his right shoulder during training camp, after struggling with pain for months. He underwent surgery Oct. 26 to repair a torn labrum.
McMillan on Pendergraph’s second consecutive start: “We’re just going to stay with that lineup. That combination of those bigs, we’re going to continue to look at that.”
McMillan would not commit to making Pendergraph a long-term starter, but added, “We’ll see.”
McMillan said factoring into the decision to start Pendergraph in place of Juwan Howard is the desire to limit Howard’s minutes, while also not having two rookies — Pendergraph and forward Dante Cunningham — in the same rotation.
“Not that I don’t want (Howard) playing as much,” McMillan said. “It’s the combination of … having two young guys on the floor at the same time.
“There’s a lot of different scenarios. The second group — not having a lot of young guys with that group. It’s not just one situation. It’s a few certain scenarios that we’re looking at.”