Sports Perspectives by Mark Elder

Friday, 6 February 2009

NBA injury reflections

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mark @ 12:32

Wow.  What an incredible week in the NBA to start the month of February.  A lot to get to, but let’s start with the injury report:
Jameer Nelson, one of the three best PGs in the Eastern Conference – out for the season (most likely) with a torn labrum.
Elton Brand messes up his shoulder and will be out for the season AGAIN.
Andrew Bynum out for 2 or 3 months with a torn MCL.
Chris Paul pulls his groin (or a sports hernia, perhaps?), but isn’t expected to miss too many games.
Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams have both been out for the Jazz, though Williams looked fine with a bruised quadriceps muscle last night.
Gilbert Arenas, DeShawn Stevenson, Caron Butler and a few others were ALL out against the Nets for the Wizards the other night, and of course, the Wizards were blown out.
Kevin Garnett and Caron Butler both missed about a week with the flu – which makes the NBA seem a lot like every other job in the world, doesn’t it?

Those are not minor absences, by the way.  We’re talking about key cogs in playoff teams being unable to play.  Most importantly Bynum and Boozer, because I have the Jazz winning their division, which they won’t do without Boozer, and I have the Lakers winning the championship, which they may not do without Bynum.

My initial reaction to the Bynum injury report, though, is one of awe.  He’s 3 meters tall and he weighs like150 kg and he tore his MCL but he’ll be playing professional basketball again in 2 months?   Are these people serious?  Is he Wolverine?  There’s no way that’s happening, unless I just don’t understand science and/or medicine at all.  I leave the door open for that, at least.  But come on.  My friend has bad tendinitis in his knees and the doctor told him not to hoop for 6 to 8 months!  Meanwhile Bynum will be playing professionally again in 8 weeks?  No.  I straight up refuse to believe that.

Regarding some other injuries:

Gilbert Arenas wondered aloud whether he should play at all to try to salvage his team’s awful, dreadful, very bad season.  He should have wondered a little bit more quietly, but in response to his quasi-inquiry that would never be posed to me:  no, don’t play.  What would be the point?  For the fans?  Wiz fans are a joke.  For himself?  He can practice on the low, then play summer league and preseason and he’ll be ready for opening night come October.  The truth is that it was a bad contract and the Wizards are better off getting all the ping-pong balls than they are finishing the season with a respectable record — and I almost NEVER say that.  WW management has made a lot of poor choices (including firing Eddie Jordan, paying Arenas 111 million dollars, and singing Jamison to play power forward for the next four seasons), and I think it’s time to start over and make some good ones, starting with good draft picks this summer.  And just a quick aside for those of you who are on the Nick Young/JaVale McGee bandwagon:  get off now, or get out of my ear.  I don’t want to hear it.  They’re both inconsistent complimentary bench players on a bad team.

The Bynum injury is the biggest, but the Nelson injury is a close second.  Jameer Nelson has really come on this year and he had the Magic playing like a title contender.  Without him, they’re not.  Simple as that.  Some combination of JJ Redick and Tyronne Lue will take his place.  Ouch.  These injuries are killing my predictions.  How can the Jazz and Magic make noise in the playoffs if they are without key cogs?  I love Stan Van and Dwight Howard, but with no point guard, they’re not going to topple the Celtics or the Cavs.  Get healthy, Jameer, and get them next year.  We all saw what happened when Wade tried to play through the pain.  Learn the lesson from his mistake, don’t make the same one yourself, please.  For basketball.

As for Elton Brand:  it was a bad signing, and the Sixers will be fine without him.  Did anyone else notice that it wasn’t really working WITH him?  I don’t think this one matters much.  You can’t trade his contract anyway, so he’s not hurting you there.  The Sixers will just have to eat this contract over the next 4.5 years and deal with the fact that they won’t be winning any championships during that span.  Sorry, Philadelphia, but you still have McNabb and Ryan Howard, at least.

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