By Marla Ridenour
INDIANAPOLIS: Cavaliers mascot Moondog will be coming off the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list for Sunday’s home game against the Orlando Magic.
Moondog suffered an eye injury during pre-game introductions Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena and was taken to a local hospital after Indiana Pacers forward David West struck him with an errant blow to the face as they were joking around.
Asked before Friday night’s game against the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse if he had a trainer’s update on the mascot, Cavs coach Byron Scott laughed and said, “I think we’d probably have to go see a vet.”
A Pacers spokesman said West plans to send Moondog a signed pair of shoes and a jersey. The mascot began working in the NBA in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ debut season in 1989-90.
“I’m going to send something over to him,” West said. “I feel bad [the] dude got hurt. I thought I was just hitting the costume. When they told me after the game … I seriously didn’t know our playing around would cause him to get hurt.”
West might not hear the end of it for a while. Pacers coach Frank Vogel said they watched tape of the incident before Friday’s film session and “had a good laugh.”
“I informed him very strongly that if there’s anything he needs from me, more minutes, more touches, whatever he wants he has it. Just don’t do me like he did Moondog,” Vogel joked.
Scott said he didn’t know what had happened to Moondog until he heard the mascot was being released from the hospital. Scott said when he was with the New Jersey Nets from 2000-04, their mascot broke his ankle doing a flip.
Told that Indians mascot Slider once suffered a torn ACL during a game, Scott said, “I guess being a mascot is a very dangerous job.”
The New Orleans Hornets got welcome news Friday with the announcement that New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson plans to buy the NBA franchise. However, the future of the Sacramento Kings looks in doubt after a tentative deal for a new arena fell through. The owners, the Maloof family, said they hope to keep the team in the California capital, but they are likely to explore other options.
Scott worked in both places. In 1998-2000, he served as an assistant under Rick Adelman with the Kings. In 2004-10, Scott coached the Hornets.
“I hope Sacramento stays in Sacramento,” Scott said. “When I was there, those fans were unbelievable. I remember the altercations they were having with [Los Angeles Lakers coach] Phil Jackson and the cowbells and all that stuff.”
Scott obviously still has a soft spot for the “great town” of New Orleans.
“Mr. Benson will keep ’em right there; I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t. I think they’d be in great hands with Mr. Benson,” Scott said. “I think he’ll do a terrific job. I wish ’em both the best.”
Asked if he’d ever met Benson, Scott said: “A while back. He’s a character.”
Scott said center Semih Erden, who sprained his right ankle Wednesday, would not play against the Pacers or tonight at the Washington Wizards and will be re-evaluated on Sunday. Scott said if it’s determined Erden might miss five or six games, Luke Harangody might have to be recalled from the Canton Charge. The Cavs are reluctant to do that now because the Charge are in the playoffs.
The Cavs held no shootaround Friday, mainly because it began a hectic stretch of five games in six nights. But Scott said the fact they’d just played the Pacers also helped. The team held a breakfast meeting and walk-through.
Marla Ridenour can be reached at email@example.com. Read her blog at http://www.ohio.com/marla. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.