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Injured Turner Point Guard Of The Future
Don't take out any long term leases, Wayne. He said the same
thing about Billups....
Turner back in ol' Kentucky home
by Steve Bulpett
Saturday, October 23, 1999
LEXINGTON, Ky. - There is evidently some mysterious power intent on
keeping Wayne Turner from playing tonight in his college gym, Rupp Arena.
Just when it appeared the Mission Hill native and University of Kentucky
product was getting over the bruised big toe on his right foot, a right
elbow problem has arisen.
There is still a chance he could go tonight against Utah in the Celtics'
fifth preseason game, but it's doubtful. Turner had the elbow examined
here yesterday afternoon after practice at Transylvania University, and it
was learned he has bursitis. He is listed as day-to-day.
``We got a little concerned when he was on anti-inflammatories and it
flared up again,'' said Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte.
``I did it around the same time I hurt my toe,'' Turner said. ``But I was
more focused on getting my toe better, because that's my wheel. If I can't
use my wheel, I can't get up and down the court.
``But then it was like, damn, my arm. I can't pass the ball without pain.
And that's my strong arm, so that limits my mobility.
``I was really looking forward to playing, but I don't think that's going
to happen. I was interested in going back and playing in front of some
familiar faces at Rupp. Sometimes things happen. They usually happen for a
reason, so hopefully there's a good reason.''
Unlike some other rookies around the NBA, Turner doesn't have to worry
that the injury may cost him a job. Rick Pitino coached him two years at
UK and is planning for his Celtic future.
``He knows how to get you in an offense, he runs the defenses well and
anticipates well,'' Pitino said. ``We have two point guards - one's 29
(Kenny Anderson), the other thirty-something (Dana Barros is 32) - so we
can groom him as the point guard of the future. That's our intention. We
hope it works out.''
The return to UK territory isn't quite the heart string tug for Antoine
Walker that it seems to be for Walter McCarty, Turner and coaches Pitino
and Jim O'Brien. Walker spent just two years here, winning a national
title, before opting for the NBA. Not even Thursday's workout at Memorial
Coliseum on the UK campus, site of the Wildcats' practices, could get
Walker feeling warm and fuzzy.
``I haven't been back here in a couple of years,'' he said. ``We played an
exhibition game here a couple of years ago, but that's pretty much been it
as far as me being back in Kentucky.''
Walker did say he had a few flashbacks when he heard Pitino's voice
bouncing off the gym walls.
``Yeah,'' he said with a smile, ``but it's a little different now
When it was suggested Walker's salary was only half that of Pitino at that
time, he knocked down the old stories of UK paying players. Former Celtic
Dirk Minniefield admitted the 'Cats were over the salary cap.
``When Dirk was here that might have been right,'' Walker said. ``Not when
Antoine was here. Shoot, I wouldn't have went pro if that was the case.''
Pitino told the local media, ``I've got three more years on my coaching
contract (after the current season), and then I've got four years as an
executive. I'm going to fulfill it and then live happily ever after, move
back to Kentucky and watch Kentucky basketball and football.''
Asked privately a few moments later if he was serious about coming back,
he smiled and said, ``Nah. I mean, I like it a lot here, but we'd never
move here. I know Joanne (his wife wouldn't), and the Catholic church
really frowns upon divorce.''
As has been noted recently, the Pitinos are leaving their suburban digs
for a Back Bay home to settle into the city more.
``I miss my friends here, but outside of that I don't get a chance to
think much,'' said Pitino. ``I enjoyed every minute of every hour of every
day for eight years at Kentucky, so I look back with fondness of memories.
One of the things I didn't do was stay too long.
``I didn't allow familiarity to breed contempt. Today that's a big key in
coaching. I mean, eight years is a long time, a long tenure, in
Tony Battie (sprained left knee) practiced for the second straight day and
will be available tonight. . . . Walker and Paul Pierce put on game
uniforms and posed for a Sports Illustrated photographer after practice.
The shots may be used in the NBA preview issue.