Isn't anyone else unhappy that Blazer players keep rushing back from injuries, thus prolonging their down-time? First there was Martell. He clearly came back too early, and now the best-case scenario is that the Blazers' starting small forward--who appeared poised for a break-out season--will play just two months. Then there was Roy, and now Steve Blake. All would probably have been better off waiting at least another couple of games before returning. What's going on? Who is making these decisions?
I sure hope it isn't the players. Any self-respecting NBA player--and certainly all the guys on the current Blazers' squad--wants to play. If you leave the decision up to them, they'll come back from injury too early every time.
In each case--Martell, Roy, and Blake--the player has come back earlier than we'd been led to expect. "Ahead of schedule" has been the phrase used. During last night's pre-game, when I heard that phrase again, I groaned. Then when I watched Blake play, I winced. He seemed to shy away from contact, and his jumpers (hampered by that dumb shoulder pad) drew nothing but air. So what exactly was the point of having Blake play? Did he really need a "tune-up" game before playing at home vs the Bobcats? And what value is a tune-up game in which you're concerned about contact and you're too bundled up to hit a shot?
In the wake of this latest "ahead of schedule" episode, I hope the Blazers re-think their approach to bringing back players from injury. Don't listen to the player; go with the trainer's advice. And if HE'S too gung ho, take the decision out of his hands as well. With Greg Oden, the Blazers used "an abundance of caution," having GO sit a full season. Let's see a return to the conservative approach, OK? I'd much rather see a player sit one or two more games than necessary than risk losing him for additional weeks or months.