Ambulance Chasin’: Toronto Raptors

With injuries being a way of life in the NBA, Hoops Addict’s Kinnon Yee and Jeff Wong decided to take a look around the league and assess the injury bug felt by some teams going into the season. Of course, being a couple of Toronto natives, they’ve decided to first look at their beloved Raptors.

Jeff: Let’s talk about Jorge Garbajosa’s decision to play for Spain. My first thoughts were: Why are the Spanish national team doctors’ and Raptors doctors’ diagnoses so different? Why is one side saying that Garbo is cleared to play, whereas the other suggests surgery is the way to go? To me, it’s a pretty straightforward issue here – either he’s healthy or he’s not. What’s the deal?

Kinnon: I’m not too sure why the doctors’ diagnoses were so different. The truth may fall somewhere between the two. It sounds kinda risky from that Toronto Star report a few days ago. We’re talking about installing a plate inside his leg to insure that it heals properly. It’s a pretty scary prospect.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the Raptors to have decided against his participation in the Euros, considering Spain’s position for Beijing being all sewed up. Nevertheless, I’ll give Garbo credit for loving to play the game, and loving to play in his home country. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that if the championships were elsewhere, Jorge would be nowhere to be seen. This is mostly a patriotic thing for him to do, and it’s something that I understand and relate to. Ideally, I’d like to see him play a few games, and then just sit the rest of the tourney out. But I doubt that’s going to happen.

Jeff: Yeah, Garbo said in the news conference that it’s his dream to play for the national team. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

I put this rather blunt question to our friend in Spain, Raul Jimenez: Who’s not telling the truth – the Raptors doctors or the Spanish team doctors? He thinks it’s just a matter of the Raptors protecting their investment versus Garbo’s big role on the Spanish club. And if Garbo weren’t able to play, he wouldn’t be playing.

Kinnon: So here’s another injury that’s hampered the Raptors for most of last season: Chris Bosh’s plantar fasciitis. Now, personally, I had to fight plantar faciitis for a good portion of 2005 while I was in Japan. It’s one of the most annoying conditions you can have. Although you more or less “heal” after a day of resting, it invariably returns after about an hour of just casual walking. I can’t imagine what Chris Bosh must have been feeling all of last year. But then again, I can tell you that after I changed my shoes and rested for a month, the problem subsided. I’m sure that the people working on his feet have told him about all of this, but it’s kind of a difficult situation. The good thing is, you can massage certain parts of your foot to reduce the pain. Massaging the arch and the achilles tendon usually help, but to truly fix it, it all comes down to just resting.

Jeff: I can’t imagine either the degrees of pain that pro athletes play through. Hopefully plantar fasciitis won’t dog the Boshman for much longer.

An interesting comparison here between Garbo and Bosh (as considered also in this blog); whereas Bosh seems be focusing on being ready for his team, the Raptors, Garbo seems to be focusing on his team, the Spanish Nationals. Both are fan favourites, but their hearts are inclined towards different places.

Kinnon: I can’t completely disagree with Garbo’s decisions though. The NBA schedule is 82 games, and we should expect that most players will have some injuries to play through. I also understand the need for him to play in front of the home crowd. The thing to remember is that he hasn’t played for a good 4 months before starting his rehab, so it’s partially a good thing for him to try and get back into game shape. From his statistics, it seems that his shooting percentage has climbed back up to around before the injury. I know it’s selfish of him to put a qualified national team first, and he might need at least a month or two to fully recover and heal in the way that the Raptors’ doctors believe he should heal. Is he putting the national team first? Yes. Is it something that is completely unforgivable? Probably not. As long as he doesn’t get reinjured, I’m more or less fine with the route he’s chosen.

Jeff: Staying on the Raptors side of things: Do you think Carlos Delfino’s knee is an ongoing concern? For that matter, do you think Delfino will have a significant enough role for his knee to be a worry? There are lots of bodies in that 2/3 slot to compete against.

Kinnon: No. From what I saw at the worlds, Delfino should be fine. He was constantly defending the top player on the opposite team, and was doing a fairly good job for the most part. However, I supposed there is some possibility that he may run into similar problems that Alvin Williams had, since he’d be doing the most turning and stopping when chasing the opposing player’s best shooter, and his knee isn’t 100%. However, I think with a little rest, it should be fine. It doesn’t sound like it’s any worse than a tweak.

Jeff: Boy, Kinnon, you scare me with your Alvin Williams comparison, but I think our depth will keep Delfino from logging Boogie-type minutes.

Another Raptors injury concern – Andrea Bargnani. I’ve heard his back has limited his minutes and participation in the European qualifiers. What’s the outlook on his NBA season?

Kinnon: Backs in general are a concern (just ask Tracy McGrady).  In fact, we’ve seen a few big men over the past year develop severe leg injuries (Shaq, and Arvydas Sabonis come to mind).  However, Bargnani doesn’t have the “girth” so I don’t believe it should be a problem.  In a few years, if the Raptors manage to “bulk” him up the way a lot of Toronto fans seem to want him to go, we may have concerns.  However, for now, I don’t see any reason to be concerned.  Bargnani, apparently, gets to the gym earlier than anyone so he can completely stretch out.  If nothing else, this should limit his injuries.  So until this back injury becomes more prominent and makes him miss a significant number of games,  I think there should be little concern.

What do you think Jeff?  Does it look like a recurring problem?

Jeff: I don’t know, but I hope it’s not the recurring type. If anything, I thought he’d have problems with his shoulders with all the hope and expectation we’re loading onto them.

Kinnon: The final concern for me, is wondering if we can be as fortunate as last year, where injuries were fairly spaced out throughout the year.  We didn’t see Bosh, Bargnani, and Garbajosa go down all at once, but the potential is there.  Of course, Bryan Colangelo has created a team with enough depth to withstand injuries, but with so many potential problems lingering around the 4/5 spot, we could (potentially) be decimated very quickly.

Jeff: Well, you never know what’ll happen over the course of the season. But like you said, BC seems to have in place enough depth to pull us through if our Big Three – Bosh, Ford and Bargnani – have to rest and recover. Plus, with this depth, these guys don’t have to necessarily play big minutes, which could lead to fatigue or worse.

Tune in again as Kinnon and Jeff track the injury bug through the rest of the league.

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4 thoughts on “Ambulance Chasin’: Toronto Raptors

  1. Good post boys! 😛
    I agree with Kinnon about Garbo; in fact it will be better for him (and also for Raptors) to find the shape right now playing for Spanish Team.. he has been with the team for a month (without playing the friendly matches but working every day) and during the three first round matches he seems fully recover.

  2. Glad you liked it Manel. Yeah, I’m glad it looks like he’s got his shooting touch back. I just hope that he doesn’t try to do anything too crazy in terms of jumping. It’ll be interesting to see how he matches against players in the NBA defensively, if his leg hasn’t completely recovered.

  3. Great article boys!

    I talked with Natalie from Need 4 Sheed earlier this summer and she confirmed that Delfino does have knee issues but it’s nothing more then tendinitis (or jumpers knee). He may sit out the odd game in back-to-back situations just to rest it but I don’t see this being a huge issue for us this season.

    With Bargs barely being out of his teens I would chalk his back issues up to being a combination of pains from the end of his growth spurt (growing to 6’11” is sure to cause some back pain) combined with the weightlifting program he’s on (that’s helped him had close to 20 pounds of muscle since this time last year). While hearing about back pains isn’t something I’m excited to hear about I agree with Kinnon that it’s not a huge concern.

    Kinnon – I really liked the tidbit about how massaging your foot can help with plantar fasciitis. I’m sure Bosh’s training staff is all over this but as a fan this is the kind of stuff I like hearing and learning about.

    Jeff – Great point by stating that Bosh and Garbs have different priorities but I don’t think we should knock Garbs for his. I’m one of the people that bash Magloire and Carter for not repping their countires at World Championships and the Olympics so I have a newfound respect for Garbs for risking further injury by suiting up for Spain. Through reading the information I’ve come across this past month on Garbs it’s clear playing for his country is the top priority for him – not money or the fame/glamour of the NBA. As a Raps fans that’s a tough pill to swallow at first but it’s helped me form a deeper respect and admiration for him.

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