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A Unified Theory of the Celtics' Injuries
Many of us have been scratching our heads over the injuries this year. Why is KG out over a month with just a "muscle strain"? How could an injury so minor (he was ready to play again in the very game in which he was injured) need so long to heal? And why has KG never appeared on the bench? Is there any connection to last year's injury at about the same time? And what about Powe? We saw him hit his knee, not twist it. How could he play as he did after that injury if it was a "knee sprain" that now requires two weeks to heal? And now Ray Allen has what appears to be a minor injury, and he's out too.
This Unified Theory pulls together all the known facts and precedent mysteries regarding the Cs' injuries this year. What emerges is a coherent picture, albeit an unusual one, of how the Celtics are handling this season. We've heard bits and pieces of this from Doc and Danny, but never the whole story.
This theory postulates two kinds of injuries this year: "Completely Real", and "Expanded". Completely Real includes: Perk, Scal, Rondo, TA, Baby. "Expanded" are KG, probably Ray, and possibly Powe. And one more coming soon.
Last year, KG was out for 3 weeks. And the Cs ended up winning the championship. This year, KG had a variety of aches and pains, and his knee was troubling him, all of which culminated in the Feb 19 injury. That's when a plan that had been percolating in Danny's mind sprung into reality. They (Danny and Doc) decided to "expand" this injury and keep KG out much longer than he required to heal. Long enough to get completely well from all his aches and pains… things he would normally play through…. and then even longer than that. They figured there are many advantages to doing this:
(1) KG would be fresh for the playoffs. With the Cs' playoffs spot already assured, the only reason to continue the maximum fight for every game was home court advantage. For several reasons, Danny and Doc (D&D) did not believe HC was necessary this year.
(2) The Cavs and Lakers are fighting hard to win every game. But EVERY game that Lebron and Kobe play is one more risk for their teams. If either were to be injured for the playoffs, it would be lights out for that team. D&D didn't want that happening to the Celtics.
(3) The Cavs may get the best record in the East, but that did not mean that the Cs would not have home court advantage in the EC Finals. That would only be true IF THE CAVS MADE IT TO THE EC FINALS. They could easily lose prior to that, in which case the Cs could still have home court in the EC Finals. Likewise in the Finals against the West… there is no guarantee that the Lakers will make it all the way. If they don't, once again the Cs could get HC anyway. So what are we really fighting for, thought D&D?
(4) And if the Cs are forced to play without HC, D&D believed they could handle it. They only had to invoke last year's Finals to reach that conclusion.
(5) Better, they calculated, to let KG rest AND AVOID ANY INJURY TO HIM in this critical time period prior to the playoffs… when any injury might not have enough time to heal.
(6) This neatly explains why KG has not been on the bench since his injury, something that has disturbed some of us. The given reason was "Oh, he's just too intense", about which many of us rolled our eyes. Seemed like baloney, because if he can't play anyway what difference does it make if he's on the bench supporting his team? But now it makes sense. KG could not stand to sit on the bench KNOWING THAT HE WAS ACTUALLY READY TO PLAY. That I can understand.
(7) This theory also neatly fits what we know of KG's personality. He would not like this idea, but might do it for the good of the team.
(8) This also explains the apparent coincidence of KG having a similar "unseen" injury last year at about the same time. It was last year's injury that GAVE D&D THE IDEA for the Expanded Injury concept this year.
Once this plan was executed for KG, the thinking probably expanded to include certain other players. Mostly the older ones… mostly the Big Three. Therefore, it is now Ray's turn to have some time off. Ray is much hardier than KG though… he's a smooth, ageless machine out there… so he will need less time off. About Powe's injury I am less certain. He may be included in the Expanded Injury Plan due to some residual aches and pains, and due to the fact that he seems to have already achieved nearly his full potential this year and so needs playing time less than some others on the team.
Which leads us to another advantage of this plan: the extra playing time forced on the Cs' new and young players… especially Marbury, Mikki, and Walker. Since the Cs' biggest weakness was its bench, D&D figured that forcing our guys to go out there and perform would only help strengthen and season the bench, so that if and when they're needed in the playoffs they would be ready. In the end, the difference between winning and losing may well come down to one or all of these guys.
When you weigh the plusses and minuses of this plan, it seems to lean heavily to the plus side.
How should we feel about this? Is it right for the Cs to hold back players that are not injured enough to really warrant it? At first I thought it wasn't… but the more I think about it, the more I like this plan. It's audacious, I don't think it has ever been done before, and it has some risks. But overall, I now think it's a gutsy, great, even visionary move.
Are they lying to us? Well, yes, a little. They can't just come out and tell the whole truth. They have a business to run. People need to come to games, not stay home till the playoffs. Plus who knows what the league would say? But Doc, and to a lesser extent Danny, have hinted at the truth. They've been winking and nodding at us with statements implying that KG has many aches and pains that need to heal, and the explanation that KG is too intense to sit on the bench. Especially that last one doesn't make much sense unless you invoke this Unified Theory. All this is OK with me. Do what you gotta do, guys… to win it all.
This theory leads to a prediction. Sometime after KG comes back but before the end of the regular season, Paul Pierce will take 1-2 weeks off. The stated reason will probably be "muscle strain".