We've been debating Andre Iguodala's injury in the comments for a couple days now. Specifically, we've talked quite a bit about his decision to play through the pain. After the jump I'll share a link that explains the injury itself, and talk a bit about how the team has handled injuries this season.
First, here's a link from another blog in the Blogs By Fans Network, written by an actual doctor, about plantar fasciits. Definitely worth a read.
Now, let's talk a bit about injuries and how they've been handled. First of all, it's my personal belief that any athlete with a competitive bone in his body is going to want to get back on the court as soon as possible. Probably sooner than is medically prudent. Typically, people feel healed before they really are, and coming back before the proper amount of recovery and rehab is completed can and will lead to either re-injury or a new injury due to favoring the not-fully recovered body part. This is true in pretty much all sports and the number of times guys have come back too early only to wind up with a more serious injury is long and sad. We're talking about ultra-competitive individuals playing a sport that is unbelievably physically demanding when you're in perfect health.
This is where training staffs, coaching staffs and franchises come into play. It's the players job to do everything they can to get back onto the floor. Whether that's finding a way to maintain their cardio through an injury, following a rehab schedule set by a doctor or just plain resting, they need to do whatever they're told by professionals. It's the job of the team doctors and trainers to tell a player point blank, you are not ready to play yet. It's the team's job to weigh the risks and rewards of bringing a player back. By this I mean a trainer saying, "He's probably not going to make it any worse by playing on it," would be an acceptable risk if the playoffs are on the line. In this situation, with the season clearly over, the only way a guy should be playing is if the training staff is saying, "He's 100%, no risk of making this any worse." If that's not the message you're getting from your training staff, the team needs to sit the guy down. Period.
Circling back, let's take a look at the major injuries sustained this season. Lou Williams breaks his jaw, comes back a month early. Marreese Speights tears a ligament in his knee, comes back two weeks early. Speights hyperextends his knee, comes back after a few games. Now we find out Iguodala is playing through an injury that has sidelined Joakim Noah for a month and others for much, much longer.
At some point, you have to ask what are the priorities of this team and the men making the decisions. Clearly Eddie Jordan has been coaching for his job for at least a month (and doing a predictably horrible job at it, as well), but what about Ed Stefanski? Who is letting these guys back on the floor too early when there's nothing to be gained from wins? The priorities of this franchise are so far out of whack it's unbelievable.
When I first started talking about how letting Eddie Jordan finish out the season was beyond irresponsible, it was dangerous, I was speaking to the regression of the players on the roster and the learning of horrible habits. Well, you can add serious injury concerns to the list of unnecessary dangers, and Ed Stefanski to the blame list if something happens in the next 11 games.
Sixers @ Bucks later tonight.