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Portland's History of Injury Prone Centers

Below is a direct copy of Bill Walton's NBA career from his Wikipedia page, so take from it what you will.

Walton was drafted number one overall by the Portland Trail Blazers and was hailed as the savior of the franchise.[ sound familiar?] His first two seasons were marred by injury (at different times he broke his nose, foot, wrist and leg) and the Blazers missed the playoffs both years. It was not until the 1976-77 season that he was healthy enough to play 65 games and, spurred by new head coach Jack Ramsay, the Trail Blazers became the Cinderella team of the NBA. Walton led the NBA in both rebounds per game and blocked shots per game that season and he was selected to the NBA All-Star Game but did not participate due to an injury. Walton was named to the NBA's First All-Defensive Team and the All-NBA Second Team for his regular season accomplishments. In the postseason, Walton led Portland to a sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the conference finals (famously outplaying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during the series)[6] and went on to help the Trail Blazers to the NBA title over the favored Philadelphia 76ers despite losing the first two games of the series. Walton was named the Finals MVP. The following year, the Blazers won 50 of their first 60 games before Walton suffered a broken foot in what turned out to be the first in a string of foot and ankle injuries that cut short his career. He nonetheless won the league MVP that season (1978) and the Sporting News NBA MVP, as well. He played in his only All-Star Game in 1978 and was named to both the NBA's First All-Defensive Team and the All-NBA First Team. Walton returned to action for the playoffs but was reinjured in the second game of a series against the Seattle SuperSonics. Without Walton to lead them, Portland lost the series to Seattle in six games. As it turned out, Walton would never play for the Trail Blazers again. During the offseason, Walton demanded to be traded, citing unethical and incompetent treatment of his and other players' injuries by the Blazers' front office. He did not get his wish and sat out the 1978-79 season in protest, signing with the San Diego Clippers when he became a free agent in 1979.[7] Walton spent several seasons alternating between the court and the disabled list with his hometown San Diego Clippers. After the 1984-85 campaign, Walton called on two of the league's premier teams, the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. After several players on the Celtics said they liked the idea of having Walton as a teammate backing up Robert Parish and Kevin McHale, Red Auerbach made the deal happen. One anecdote that particularly illustrates Walton's decision to choose the Celtics over the Lakers is about Larry Bird, who happened to be in Auerbach's office when Walton called and said that if Walton felt healthy enough to play that it was good enough for him, as opposed to Lakers GM Jerry West, who was hedging his interest in Walton pending a doctor's report. Boston acquired Walton by sending popular forward Cedric Maxwell to the Clippers along with a first-round draft pick. Providing a reliable backup to McHale and Parish, Walton received the NBA Sixth Man Award that season en route to the NBA Championship, becoming the only player to have ever won an NBA Finals MVP, Sixth Man Award, and regular season MVP. Walton injured himself again the following season, but returned for the 1987 playoffs. He spent the 1987-88 season on the injured list. He attempted a comeback in February 1990, but injury intervened and he retired from the game. His ankle problems became so severe years later that he had both his ankles surgically fused. His saga of injury and failed rehabs was connected to the use of pain killers by the doctor who was assigned to his case.[citation needed] Walton has said repeatedly in his broadcasts that he is just as much to blame for taking the medication as the doctor was for giving it to him. Yet his experience with injuries and the circumstances surrounding them have come to serve as a warning for professional athletes who undergo major injury as well as being an interesting case study for medical ethics. His injuries, along with his 1978-1979 year-long protest, gave him an unpleasant, if not odd, record. Walton holds the record for the most games missed during an NBA playing career, when taking into account the number of years he was officially listed as a player on a team roster. He was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, and had his number 32 retired by the Blazers in 1989. In 1996, he was named as one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of all time.

The thing we can take from this is, if history repeats itself, Greg Oden's reign may be short lived. However we may still get that shot at an ever illusive second banner to hang in the rafters.

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