Of early starts and issues with a mask
What a dead day Friday was, wasn’t it?
I got to blow off practice, nothing earth-shattering really happened anywhere and the rhythm of a week was quite disrupted.
Luckily, there were a couple of hours free to sit and sip and answer mail so there was some wee connection to work.
And, of course, this:
Noon start on Sunday, eh?
Yes, it’s TV driven, and football game driven as well (the ABC window is 2:30-5, they could have played at 6, as silly as that sounds) but it’s awfully early.
And even earlier for some.
In one of the more significant, yet subtle, changes the Raptors have made this season, for early Sunday games they get to the arena around 9 a.m. for a walkthrough up in the practice facilities.
They go over what the other team does, work on some of their own stuff but that’s really all secondary to the purpose.
The real reason is to make sure all the players are out of bed and at least functioning close to normal by the time they hit the court.
I’ve talked to a few players about it and they all say pretty much the same thing:
It’s good to get in early, break a sweat, get up some shots and then go play the game.
There have been years where there was nothing mandated for the players before early Sunday games. For a noon start, some would drift in at 9:30, some at 10, some at 10:15; they got up, dragged their sorry selves out of bed and went to work.
Now, they’re all in at the same time, they work as a group and their minds and bodies get engaged well before tip. Or so they say.
And it seems to have worked.
They’ve won four of their last five early Sunday starts with n early start defined as any one before 6 p.m., when the usual game-day schedule that starts with a 10 a.m. shootaround is in effect.
Of course, in the “it’s all about me” world I inhabit, whether they shoot or don’t shoot or sleep or don’t sleep is of no real concern. Three hours before a game I’m usually sitting in the press room or wandering the halls in search of sources so noon, 3, 6 or 7 really makes no difference.
Things aren’t particularly groovy out in Sacramento, as the Bee reports here.
Should he or shouldn’t he?
Turk and the mask, that is.
Guy takes a practice off and all heck breaks loose about facial protection for an injured guy’s broken orbital bone.
Doctors say Turkoglu is cleared to play as long as he wears a mask.
Turkoglu says he doesn’t want to wear it, it feels uncomfortable, he’s a grown man, there’s risk there anyway and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
What to do?
I can really see both sides and I don’t know that there’s a right or a wrong answer.
The risks inherent with playing professional sports are obvious. Everyone’s one missed step away from having a career end in a flash of pain and torn ligaments and cartilages or what-have-you and I don’t know that a piece of plastic on a face really makes all the difference in the world.
Do you lessen the risk by putting on a mask? Maybe. Marginally. But I don’t know for sure. No one does.
If someone gets hit with enough force to break a bone, I imagine that same blow would cause just as much damage whether there’s a bit of protection or not.
And the argument that the Raptors need to “protect their investment” is, to me, flawed. Their “investments” are at risk every second of every game; they’re actually at risk every second of every day, regardless.
That’s just the way it is and to all of sudden start bringing up that argument seems a wee bit disingenuous.
Look at it this way:
Let’s say Player A, who doesn’t tape his ankles routinely because it’s uncomfortable, sprains an ankle in some game.
He sits out a week or so, the swelling goes down, the doctors clear him to play and the staff suggests that maybe he’s got a smaller chance of spraining that ankle again if he gets it taped every game.
Player A says, ‘nah, I’m cool. Hate the tape, doesn’t feel right, limits what I can do on the court.’
You think the team would insist he tape it up and play? I don’t.
Anyway, I have no idea how it will get resolved – don’t imagine I’ll know until about noon tomorrow – but I can certainly see Hedo’s point.
And kind of agree with it.
Do you realize that not once yesterday did I get an e-mail about some trade speculation floating around the internet?
I call that a good day indeed.
So, with the Kings making their only visit here Sunday, guess you should all pay attention to Tyreke Evans, who I’m told is at the moment is one of the leaders in the rookie of the year race.
The other kid to watch, though, is Omri Casspi. Couple of scouts I’ve talked to rave about him and think he’s got a chance to be pretty special.
Okay, Super Dog needs a walk and I need a coffee before heading off the practice. Wouldn't it be cool if every player on the team showed up wearing a mask?