You know the story — Jermaine O’Neal has been out for a little while. The Celtics expected some injury issues with Jermaine, mostly because Jermaine tends to get injured quite often. Jermaine “only” missed twelve games last season, and that was like a gift from above. So the C’s were ready for these maladies.
We still don’t quite know the extent of Jermaine’s injury. We suspect it might be arthritis, but Jermaine will neither confirm nor deny that suspicion. Jermaine has received three opinions so far, by my count. One by Celtics team doctor Brian McKeon, one by Jermaine’s old Miami doctors, and one by New York Mets team doctor David Altcheck.
Still, the Celtics are being mighty coy about the injury. But this sentence, written in the Boston Herald, does not sound good.
But according to Ainge, Jermaine O’Neal is simply suffering from 14 seasons of wear and tear on a surgically repaired knee.
That sentence, so simple and ominous, likely means O’Neal’s not going to get better. That knee is going to bother him all season long. And this isn’t Brett Favre we’re talking about. O’Neal isn’t a player who likes to play through pain. He likes to sit out as long as he can and see whether his body will improve. If his body is hurting all season long, Jermaine will likely be sitting all season long. These injury issues aren’t going to go away, unless there’s some sort of a miracle. (Or unless I’m wrong, which is entirely possible. I don’t exactly have any medical degree.)
In other news, I wouldn’t wish “14 seasons of wear and tear on a surgically repaired knee” on my worst enemy.
Ainge continued to describe the injury further.
“It’s not anything we didn’t know about,” said Ainge. “He’s had it drained, and the best thing now is to try and maintain it. He’s had two opinions on it (Editor’s note: isn’t it three?), including (team physician) Brian (McKeon), and so we’ll go from there. I just think that realistically he has to take a couple of weeks off. We don’t want to risk anything.”
O’Neal is clearly in agreement, despite the drain on the good feeling he carried out of last season.
“I wouldn’t say that had much of a role in our decision to sign him,” Ainge said of O’Neal’s relatively good health in Miami last season. “But going in, none of us expected him or Shaq to play 82 games. We knew that both would be guys we had to watch carefully. We knew it would be a high-maintenance situation.”
Ainge said the latest issue is “not anything we didn’t know about.” So I guess my questions are these:
If the Celtics really knew about O’Neal’s recurring knee problem that will likely never go away, why, exactly, did they sign him?
And if the Celtics really knew about this issue, why, exactly, did Jermaine have to seek so many opinions? If they knew about the issue, there wouldn’t have been any need for another opinion, right?
None of this really adds up. So yeah, maybe Jermaine simply has a nagging problem and the Celtics want to let him rest. But maybe it’s something worse.
I hate this Belichickian injury code that I spend far too much time trying to decipher. The Celtics are hiding something, folks. I just hope this doesn’t turn out to be like the whole KG saga of yesteryear.