If you have a friend who’s a Lakers fan, there’s no way you’ve forgotten when Paul Pierce was taken off on a wheelchair in Game 1 of the ’08 Finals.
Every time I talk about Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum or any Laker being a flop-a-holic, the conversation inevitably turns to, “How can you call those guys soft when Pierce left on a wheelchair? How can you call Derek Fisher a flopper when Pierce went so far as to get wheeled off the court?”
Well, you Lakers fans can shut your pieholes now. Pierce didn’t ask to be wheeled off in a wheelchair; he was ordered to by team doctor Brian McKeon. (Boston Herald)
“I called for the wheelchair,” McKeon said. “That was my decision.
“Paul hears a pop and has pain. The first thought is ACL. He said, ’Doc, I twisted it and I heard a pop and my knee hurts.’ Until proven otherwise, that’s an ACL injury. You have to treat it like that, so the clear decision was to take every precaution.” [...]
“It was a difficult situation,” McKeon said. “You had the media right there, with TV cameras almost right on top of us. And here’s Paul in the NBA Finals, and this happens to him. He’s nervous. He’s scared about what it might be. Is his Finals over? That’s going through his mind. Anyone can understand that.
“I wanted to get him out of there as fast as I could. I wanted to control the situation. I called for a wheelchair, but when it didn’t get there fast enough, we carried him off. The wheelchair met us when we turned the corner into the last hallway.”
Now I know Lakers fans are a little slow, and — at this point — they probably still think Pierce is a soft flopper. I can just hear a Lakers fan now: “That’s still soft, dude. I mean, Pierce should have told the doctor he was fine. He didn’t need a damn wheelchair and he knew it.”
They don’t know, like we Celtics fans know, that Pierce is one tough hombre who plays through pain on a regular basis. And, oh yeah, despite coming back and dominating the Lakers for the rest of the series Pierce was actually pretty damn hurt that night.
“He tore part of his MCL,” McKeon said. “That can act like an ACL tear, especially at first. When he came back onto the court, he still had pain. But he had so much adrenaline because of the Finals and everything that was at stake that he was able to play.
“But he had pain right through the rest of the Finals. Absolutely. He actually hurt more the day after the injury. The adrenaline carried him through the night before, and I think that got him through the rest of the series.”
So a recap for those aforementioned slow Lakers fans: Your team didn’t get destroyed back in ’08 by a soft flopper. Au contraire, my friends. Your team was actually destroyed by one tough SOB, playing on adrenaline alone, with a torn MCL.
And that tough bastard has one more comment for all you LA haters:
“Hey, that’s been made up into stories that are going to be talked about 30 years from now,” he said. “And I had no control over it. I come off the court and I had a doctor telling me to get in a wheelchair. What am I supposed to do? Tell him no?”
Celtics Town Myth Busters does it again.