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Pain’s a given
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March 29, 2007 in Injuries

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Having had ample experience with the injury, Rockets forward Chuck Hayes said he knew two things about Wednesday’s game: He would come back and be able to play, and he would be very sore afterward.

“I can’t go in there timid or play hesitant because I would only hurt myself and the team, and two, the guy I’m going against (Elton Brand) isn’t going to let me,” said Hayes, who strained his left shoulder during Monday’s game against Milwaukee. “I’m going to have to bring it, and I expect to be really sore after the game.

“I was concerned. It happened so quickly. It hurt more when it (a tendon) popped back into place, than when it popped out of place. It’s happened before. It used to happen all the time when I played football in high school. It was a bad, bad stinger. It hurt like crazy. But I’m fine. I’m better.”

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Injury Update
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March 28, 2007 in Injuries

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Chuck Hayes will return to the floor tonight against the Clippers, a source has confirmed to ClutchFans.

The 6-foot-6 Hayes had strained his shoulder Monday night in a collision with Bucks guard Michael Redd in the Rockets 106-87 victory over Milwaukee. Hayes left the game and didn’t return, being listed as “day to day” for the West coast road trip.

Guard Bonzi Wells also travelled with the team to Los Angeles, fueling speculation that he could return to action tonight. Bonzi, who has missed the last 14 games (despite being healthy for the last half of them), has been in and out of coach Jeff Van Gundy’s doghouse this season and this looks like a last-ditch effort to get him going before the playoffs.

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Hayes iffy for game against Clippers
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March 27, 2007 in Injuries

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Rockets forward Chuck Hayes, who left Monday’s game in the first quarter with a strained left shoulder, is considered “day-to-day” with his availability to play Wednesday likely not to be decided until late that afternoon.

“I’m fine,” Hayes said late Monday. “It’s just strained.”

Hayes has been effective offensively in recent weeks, making 21 of 29 shots in his past six games.

Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo, who has been on the inactive list the past two games, is also expected to return soon.

He did not travel to Oklahoma City for Sunday’s game but was with the team on Tuesday. Bonzi Wells, who has also been inactive, also traveled for the game against the host Clippers at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

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Rockets cruise to sixth straight home victory
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March 27, 2007 in Injuries

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The Rockets beat the Milwaukee Bucks 106 to 87 clinching a playoff berth, but the victory was costly, starting forward Chuck Hayes hurt his shoulder casting a shadow on the win.

Hayes got tangled up with the Bucks Michael Redd in the first quarter. He grimaced in pain for several minutes before leaving for treatment from trainer Keith Jones.

Hayes is listed with a strained shoulder and his status is day to day.

On the floor, the Rockets duo of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady each scored 22 points to lead the team past the Bucks. The Rockets sprinted to a 13 point first quarter lead, and unlike the night before against the Hornets, they played all four quarters.

Rafer Alston and Luther Head both added 13 points as the team had both the inside and outside working against the undermanned Bucks.

The Rockets take the day off Tuesday and then head to Los Angeles to play the Clippers on Wednesday and the Lakers on Friday.

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Chuck injured against Bucks
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March 26, 2007 in Injuries

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Chuck hurt his shoulder about 8 minutes into the game against the Milwaukee Bucks.  It was reported on FSN as a shoulder sprain and they are going to take the injury day-to-day.

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Seattle Supersonics Head Coach Bob Hill
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February 1, 2007 in Injuries

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(on the Rockets) “It’s tough for me to comment because Yao hasn’t played for them in the two games. Tracy (McGrady) is great and their guards are extra special with so much speed. I’m a real big Chuck Hayes fan . He does so much for their team. They are built to win. When Yao (Ming) gets back it will be significant for them.”

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[NBC.com]Plague ravages Planet NBA
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January 9, 2007 in Injuries

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According to the Centers for Disease Control’s website, the last urban plague epidemic in the United States took place in 1924-25.

And without outright disputing the claims of such a reliable source as the CDC, you could make the case that the outbreak of injuries to besiege the NBA in 2006-07 is approaching plague level. Consider some of the high-profile injuries Planet NBA has witnessed this year:

The top two centers in the league (Shaquille O’Neal and Yao Ming) have been beset with Chuck Hayes Syndrome (a condition which causes the Houston Rockets’ power forward named Chuck Hayes to crash into your leg, inflicting debilitating harm to that appendage).

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No pain, no fame
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December 15, 2006 in Injuries

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Chuck Hayes makes his NBA living getting beat up underneath the glass

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OAKLAND — Chuck Hayes’ left knee aches the day after each game. His coach frets about Hayes’ limited shooting range and stamina. Hayes doesn’t know if his physique can handle a full NBA season as a starter for the Houston Rockets.

Hayes will deal with this. He’s having the time of his life.

“It’s really surprising, knowing what I’ve been through,” Hayes said before Thursday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors. About 10 feet away, Yao Ming watched film on a monitor next to Rafer Alston and Bonzi Wells. Hayes sat, elbows on his knees, hunched forward, eyes alert, a slight grin creasing his face.

An NBA locker room always was his desired destination.

And here he was, on a midweek night in December, doing what 99 percent of the smart money figured was impossible for him.

He made his 16th start of the season, 16 more — in fact — than even he can believe.

“It’s really surprising, knowing what I’ve been through,” he admitted. “It’s a blessing, a testimony for me to tell. Funny how things turn out. I came a long way.”

Every available NBA fact insists Hayes, the most famous graduate of Modesto Christian, should be plying his trade in Europe or some other obscure basketball outpost. He was not drafted by any NBA team after his graduation from Kentucky, and no one was surprised, and why not?

Is there any place in the league for a 6-foot-6 power forward minus a perimeter jump shot or through-the-roof hops?

The high-percentage answer is “no” but, then again, this is Chuck Hayes, one of those overachievers who laughs at the long odds. What does he do best, you ask? Why is he starting alongside teammates like Yao and Tracy McGrady for the 14-8 Rockets while more skilled players are working on their jump shot in Istanbul or selling three-piece suits back home? Because Hayes is good at, as his former coaches like to say, just being Chuck.

Setting screens as strong as Sequoia trees is just being Chuck. Catching every pass or retrieving all loose balls is just being Chuck. Holding his ground and taking the offensive foul against the Warriors’ Baron Davis is just being Chuck. Snatching rebounds, feeding open shooters and not making mistakes is just being Chuck.

He became a folk hero in Kentucky by just being Chuck, and he’s used the same formula to carve a niche — invent one, really — in the world’s best league. The only people who thought this wasn’t a silly dream were Kentucky coach Tubby Smith and Hayes himself.

“I got a lot of doubters,” he said. “I’m sure there will be people watching me tonight who can’t believe I’m here.”

A year ago this month, Hayes was starring for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, deep in the pro hoops bush leagues, when he sprained an ankle. Because of his ankle, he failed a physical with the Rockets.

“Horrible timing,” he admitted.

But in January, the Rockets signed him to a 10-day contract, an NBA dress rehearsal. Do it or don’t. Sink or swim. Hayes swam. By the end of the month, he signed to finish the season. Last June, the Rockets picked up the option on the rest of his contract.

Before Game 2 of this season, Hayes was named a starter. By now, even the former Crusader shook his head in amazement.

“I expected this season to come off the bench and play sporadic minutes,” Hayes said. “To be starting right after the first game, that one caught me off-guard. I wasn’t expecting that one.”

His problems are not unlike most second-year pros. He injured his knee during a violent collision with Shaquille O’Neal and missed four games.

Jeff Van Gundy, the Rockets’ coach, isn’t sure Hayes is strong enough to last the NBA’s grueling 82-game regular season. And there always will be issues with Hayes’ perimeter game (he has none) or penchant for foul trouble. He and Juwan Howard virtually split minutes at power forward.

“It’s an ongoing concern with Chuck,” Van Gundy said. “Chuck has got to figure out how he can screen out, and cut and offensive rebound to take advantage of teams that ignore him (on offense). He’s aggressive by nature and an undersized player. Those kind of guys have to fight for every inch on the court. I’m more concerned with his lack of sustained energy over a three- or four-day period — 6-5 or 6-6 power forwards can play well in this league but they have to do it with a great level of intensity, energy and basketball IQ.”

Hayes is lucky to have a coach who believes in his skills. But truth be told, every coach — from grammar school through the NBA — has loved to coach Chuck Hayes.

His Rockets lost 109-107 Thursday when Davis beat them with 1.2 seconds left. Hayes walked slowly off the court with his teammates after a nominal Chuck-like night — 22 minutes, two points and nine rebounds. He wasn’t on the court when the Rockets failed to rebound a miss, opening the door for Davis.

Tonight, Hayes and the Rockets drag their bodies to Staples Center to meet the Lakers. His body will not be 100 percent, a fact of life in the NBA, the life he’s always craved.

“I’m having a blast,” he said. “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t say, ‘Chuck, be grateful.'”

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Hayes is back
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November 24, 2006 in Injuries

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The Rockets’ Chuck Hayes pushed up the timetable and got back onto the court after missing only four games with the hyperextended left knee injured in a collision with Shaquille O’Neal on Nov. 12. He played just 17 1/2 minutes (six points, three rebounds) and was not on the floor in the fourth quarter, but pronounced the night a success.

“I was just happy to get back out there and try to help the team,” Hayes said. “It was important mentally to get myself ready and get out onto the floor and prove that I can play like myself.”

Hayes will wear a large, stiff brace on his knee for at least a month to give him support.

“It really is a major adjustment to get used to that thing,” he said. “It’s definitely going to take time.”

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[Chron] Hayes Returns to Starting Lineup
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November 23, 2006 in Injuries

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Hayes returns
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Forward Chuck Hayes returned to the starting lineup after missing four games with a hyperextended left knee. “I’ve been feeling good. My rehab’s going great,” he said. “My workouts have been going well, so I can push myself to full speed so I can get exhausted and I can get used to wearing the brace. The training staff and the coaching staff feel I’m ready to go.

“I was more focused on running up and down the court and my lateral foot speed (than the brace). It really took me by surprise that I was able to do some step slides with the brace on.”

Asked how it felt to run into Shaquille O’Neal — a collision that left O’Neal with torn cartilage and put him out for four to six weeks — Hayes said: “It hurts. It hurts a lot. I wouldn’t recommend that to anybody.”

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