Sometime in the early stages of Game 1 of the first-round matchup, Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson injured his foot. The verdict was a damaged plantar fascia, yet he soldiered on to rack up 35 minutes in the game.
Hobbling and grimacing in agony with every step that he took, despite two injections during the game to ease the pain, he still carried on. Pretty heroic stuff, right?
Just don’t expect any sympathy from the Miami Heat.
“Nobody feels sorry for me,” said Dwyane Wade, who has had to play through injuries on many occasions during his career.
Meanwhile Chris Bosh was a little more empathetic with the Bobcats bigman, but ultimately shared a similar sentiment.
“It hurts,” Bosh said. “Plantar fascia hurts, and there’s nothing you can do as a basketball player to not make it hurt. He’s just going to have to play through it.”
Granted it may seem a little cold but hey, it’s the NBA Playoffs. The championship period. The thing you’ve worked your butt off for during the grueling regular season and so forth. It’s the time when the true competitors come out swinging and distinguish themselves from the pretenders. The other players aren’t going to be concerning themselves with their opponents’ health because it’s a case of eat, or be eaten.
Heck, some players wouldn’t give a damn if it was their mother who was injured because they are so locked in on the prize.
If they are trying to stop you from winning the NBA title, then they are your enemy. There’s plenty of time for niceties and making up when the series is over.
For now though, the show must go on and Jefferson’s status for Game 2 is questionable. It depends entirely him and how much pain he can take, however the Heat are treating it as if he is still fully healthy and capable of putting up 25 points and 15 rebounds, just as he did in the three regular season games he played in.
Udonis Haslem, the man charged with slowing down Big Al in the first game of the matchup and will most likely be guarding him in the second, said: “I don’t know if he’s hurt. I know that’s what they say, but I don’t treat it any differently. I’m going to go out there and play like Al Jefferson is 199 percent.”
That’s the perfect mentality for Haslem to have; after all he’s already witnessing first-hand how effective he can be despite the injury having posted 18 points and 10 rebounds in Game 1. Something which coach Erik Spoelstra is also wary off.
“He was able to establish a big low-post presence in the first half (of Game 1),” said Spoelstra. “He’ll still be able to do that if he’s in the game. He was able to do that in the second half even though he was a little bit hobbled.”
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