Niagara Gazette

Sports

December 11, 2009

BASKETBALL: Paul Harris' D-League debut delayed

A television station in Portland, Maine filmed a piece a few weeks back with a reporter playing H.O.R.S.E against the local NBA Development League team’s inaugural draft pick.

The bit, titled “Paul Harris can’t wait to play,” aired Friday morning, while Harris was home in Niagara Falls, wearing a walking boot on his injured right ankle.

Harris said Friday he’s heading to Hartford, Conn., this weekend to continue rehabilitation, and is at least six weeks away from joining the Maine Red Claws on the court.

“I came home to tell my mom that I didn’t need surgery and to see my son,” Harris said.

Late last week, Harris was told that he had a torn ligament that needed season-ending surgery. Harris sought a second opinion from one of the Boston Celtics’ team physicians and was told his initial injury had worsened, but could heal on its own with proper care.

Harris first hurt his ankle Sept. 22 playing pickup games with members of the Utah Jazz in preparation for training camp. When Harris was waived by the Jazz on Oct. 22, he thought he was a couple weeks away from a return to action, and started going to Niagara University to work on his shooting.

“I didn’t know at the time, but that made it worse,” Harris said. “Now, all I can do is swim and get treatment until its 100 percent better.”

The Red Claws play tonight in Erie, Pa., the closest D-League city to Niagara Falls, as well as twice next week.

“I know a lot of people were planning to go to those games,” Harris said.

Harris was drafted No. 8 overall by the Red Claws, an expansion franchise in the NBDL, and was classified as an A player, entitling him to a salary of $25,500. However, Harris said he won’t be getting paid until he starts playing, although the Red Claws are providing lodging and covering his medical costs.

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