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Steve Nash, coming right at ya. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Hedo Turkoglu left last night's preseason game in the second quarter after taking a hit to the back. He said after the game it had originally bothered him on Monday and then the blow made it tighten up.
Hedo practiced today and said after that he felt good. He got treatment from the Suns training staff this morning and will get more tomorrow and hopes to play on Thursday in Utah.
Asked if his back was an ongoing issue, Hedo gave a funny answer. Try not to read too much into this. Or do.
"No, it happens sometimes when I watch TV in the wrong position, laying on the sofa or couch. It just stiffens up and I got hit yesterday. I was on the bench, it just get tighter. Maybe if I try to loosen up, I could go. They didn't want me to force it. Today, I try in the morning and I was feeling better and hopefully tomorrow I'll feel much better," Turkoglu said.
See, he's like the rest of us. His back gets stiff watching TV sometimes. Personally, I bought a nice comfy recliner to help with that, but I'm not 6-foot-10 and I don't play a contact sport for a living. Not a fair comparison.
Hedo said the things the Suns training staff does is new for him like painful deep tissue massage that's always a shock for new Suns players.
"Hopefully, as time goes by, I will learn more and more what kind of diet they're using, what they're eating before and after the game to keep them that fresh and energetic even though they're like 36 and 38," Hedo said.
"I will have many, many chances to talk to them and hopefully get some advice, get some numbers, or get some diet programs -- whatever they're using -- and hopefully try and combine those together with the training staff and athletic trainers and try to extend my career long enough that I'll be able to play at a high level."
A note about Hedo
Hedo had a reputation with the media in Toronto for being surly and difficult to deal with.
Obviously, that entire situation was strained and there's no doubt that the Phoenix media can be laid back by comparison, but so far, Hedo's been great.
He never seems rushed and is willing to talk at length and answer questions. He's funny at times and personable in his own way. He doesn't seem like a guy who cares all that much about what people think of him and yet he's not stand-offish or difficult. In fact, I think he's kind of down to earth, which doesn't always seem to come through for some reason.
His language and accent is obviously at bit different and so you have to allow for that when reading his quotes. For example, he says "hopefully" a lot which I think is more cultural than how it might come across on the page/screen.
In Muslim countries, even non-religious people use the phrase "Insha'Allah" which literally means "God willing." It's a phrase that's part of normal speech and something that's probably being translated as "hopefully." I could be wrong here, but it is just one of those types of cultural things to be aware of with Hedo.
With most athletes (and most people, really), you can get into trouble by hanging too much on a single word or phrase. With people speaking your language as a non-native that's even more true.
I'm still very much on the fence about Turkoglu's potential to help this team and the long-term value of his contract to the Suns, but so far, no complaints about Hedo the person.
Gentry sums up how he's feeling about the preseason so far.
"We'd like to win games, but there's other things we've got to get done. We're making progress in those areas. A couple of bumps and bruises have slowed us down a little bit. I'm happy with the effort that we've played with most of the time, happy with the execution of that first unit."
For here on, Gentry will try and get more of a "real look" on the floor and will try and play Hakim and "those other guys" some extended minutes. That includes Hedo, if he can go. He's trying to get them comfortable in the system.
Getting in game shape isn't going to fully happen before the season starts. That would require pushing too hard and result in "crash and burn" before the season's over. The team is close to where Gentry wants them to be right now, conditioning-wise, but they aren't in mid-season form by any stretch of the imagination.
Locker room update - this is literally about the lockers:
Dwayne Jones has moved into Jarron Collins old locker between JRich and Channing Frye.
Hakim Warrick moved into Lou's old locker in the corner.
Hedo moved into Amare's locker (who said he's not replacing Amare!).
And Garret Siler is the only locker labeled with a piece of tape and his name written in marker as opposed to a fancy nameplate.