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NBA notebook:

Associated Press

Bobcats coach Steve Clifford returned to the court Monday night, three days after having two stents placed in his heart.

Clifford was given a warm welcome by the home crowd during pregame introductions against the Atlanta Hawks. He said he felt “fine” before the game and is taking every necessary precaution to ensure he’s safe.

“I’m doing exactly what [the doctors] tell me to do,” Clifford said. “I’m going to do a little bit less during the work day, come in just when the team is here. I’m going to work out of the house more, sleep in for a couple of weeks and I think I’ll be good. I’ll be getting checked regularly. I think it’ll be fine.”

Clifford thinks it’s something he’ll be able to get through.

Sanders has surgery

Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders will miss approximately six weeks after having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb sustained in a fight at a nightclub.

The Bucks said Monday that the surgery was performed by Dr. Curt Crimmins, a hand specialist, at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin.

Sanders was involved in the altercation on Nov. 3 and hasn’t played since. No charges were filed.

Harden fined for flop

Houston Rockets guard James Harden was fined $5,000 by the NBA on Monday for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules for the second time this season.

Harden was cited on Saturday during the fourth quarter of the Rockets’ 107-94 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. With the ball in his hands, he fell out of bounds over the baseline while being defended by Blake Griffin, who appeared to barely touch him.

Lakers’ Nash out 2 weeks

Steve Nash will be out of the Los Angeles Lakers’ lineup for at least two weeks with nerve root irritation.

The Lakers announced the latest injury setback for the two-time NBA MVP on Monday.

Nash played just 13 minutes in the Lakers’ loss to Minnesota on Sunday night before sitting out with pain in his back and hamstrings. He consulted with a specialist Monday.

Nash is the NBA’s oldest player at 39. He has struggled with injuries since shortly after joining the Lakers in summer 2012.

Despite sitting out two games already this season to rest on back-to-back stretches of the schedule, Nash is averaging just 6.7 points and 4.8 assists per game.

Nash is expected to receive an epidural block today.

He will be evaluated in 10 days.


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