I can already predict tomorrow’s headline in the Bay Area sports pages:
Don Nelson Wrecks Azubuike’s Knee!
A bad joke, I know. But that’s what my people traditionally do when faced by disaster, make bad jokes. What else is there to do at this point? There are not too many franchises in pro sports that have been as snakebit as the Warriors in the last two years.
For those of you who don’t already know, Buike badly injured his knee in the first quarter of this game. Preliminary reports are that it is a ruptured patellar tendon, an injury that will require surgery and will likely keep him out for months, if not the rest of the season. Although commentators are already pointing to the Warriors’ depth at his position, I think that is illusory. Jackson is on his way out the door. Morrow cannot play defense, and has done little so far this season to show that he can play at all, except as a spot up shooter. And Maggette is, quite frankly, a much better player playing “out of position” against power forwards than he is playing against quicker small forwards. The Warriors, already shorthanded, are really going to feel this loss. The team is already beginning to edge into the territory of last year’s team, which fielded a mere seven healthy bodies down the stretch.
Which is to say nothing of how Kelenna Azubuike himself is feeling. This young man, undrafted out of college, a product of the D-leagues, had worked himself to the edge of stardom in the NBA. With the departure of Stephen Jackson imminent, he was about to get the call. You really have to feel for him.