Saturday, February 21, 2009

Walking Wounded

Let's be honest, this was supposed to be our season. Not our season to 100% win the championship, but a year where things were supposed to come together better than they had the previous seasons -- guys would be at the end of their contracts, and this would be a make or break season for the team as it is currently composed. Instead everything pretty much went absolutely nuts -- in a bad way.

It could have been worse, you know -- it's not like we traded a player only for him to fail his medical examination (right Hornets?); or we haven't played our highest earning player a single second this year (right Knicks fans?). That said, it hasn't really been that great either.

I haven't been that glued to the Jazz this season partly because of how bad it got. I haven't felt this distanced since the 2004-2005 season (where AK missed 41 games and Carlos missed 31). The Jazz are sitting at 3rd place in their division and 8th in the conference right now. Why? If I had to point my finger on something I'd have to go with "Injuries for $500, Alex". After playing 55 games this season the Jazz have (only?) 23 losses.

Position Name Role Accolades # of games missed Status
PG Deron Williams

Team leader

All-NBA 2nd team last year, Top 5 PG in the L, Gold Medal winner

14

Injured in pre-season, played hurt all season long, finally feeling healed over the last two weeks

SG Ronnie Brewer

Primary wing defender

Top 5 FG% SG in the L

1  
SF C.J. Miles

Utility player on offense

Never really had playing time before in his life

5  
PF Carlos Boozer

Top Scorer, Top Rebounder

Multiple time All-Star, Gold Medal winner

43

...and counting...

C Mehmet Okur

Best outside threat, clutch shooter

Former All-Star, captain of his National Team

9

Had to fly to Turkey in the middle of a road trip because his father was on his death bed

6th Man Andrei Kirilenko

Best defender, Glue guy

Former All-Star, MVP of Eurobasket 2007, European player of the year 2008

15

Just had ankle surgery, came back early, could have been out longer

  Brevin Knight

Team veteran off bench, oldest player

one of the best career Assist:Turn over ratios

8  
  Paul Millsap

Became starter early in the season because of Boozer's injury, previously just an energy player off the bench

Had 19 straight double doubles this season

6

Got injured when the Jazz were reeling from other injuries to forwards/centers, has been playing hurt over the last 6 weeks

  Matt Harpring

Toughest hustle player

Player other NBA players hate to be defended by

14

Near fatal foot infection after surgery in the off-season

  Kyle Korver

Bench sharp-shooter

Highly regarded three point threat

4

Has played entire season with wrist injury to shooting hand

  Jarron Collins

Backup center

Probably had a good SAT score

38

Off-season golf cart accident that injured him and his twin brother, still a bad player, but still our backup center

        157 games total  

That's a lot of games missed by key guys. If you divide 157 games evenly between your starters, and their back ups, you get an average of 16 games missed by each of your top 10 guys on your depth chart. That's not bad, especially not if those are spaced out. That's quite manageable. Unfortunately, the Jazz have had multiple injuries at the same time . . . sometimes to the same position on the court. Heck, there have been games where both Deron Williams and Brevin Knight have been out. If you haven't been following along, Jerry Sloan's offense is only as good as the point guard running it. During this stretch the Jazz had Ronnie Price (former 2 guard), C.J. Miles (a former 2 guard now playing the 3) and Andrei Kirilenko (former 4 playing the 3) running the show. How solid would the Lakers have been at the 2 (the triangle's most important position) if Kobe and Sasha were both out? Probably not that great, I reckon.

D-Will has recently recovered Carlos, how did you get injured? Kind of emo here . . . This isn't actually Harp's foot . . . we all know his body is made out of bricks, especially his hands Memo returns to Turkey in 2005

D-Will had to be carried off on Oct 18, 2008 thanks to some amazing Bowen like defense by Derrick Rose (Photographed by Joe Murphy for NBAE/Getty Images)

Boozer hurt his knee on Nov 19, 2008 against the Bucks, a non-contact injury which made little sense. (Photographed by Melissa Majchrzak for NBAE/Getty Images)

AK was down but not out after his ankle surgery -- he came back to play pretty quickly for such a fragile looking guy. (Photographed by Lisa Blumenfeld for NBAE/Getty Images)

Nasty post-op foot infection, not actually Matt Harpring's foot though . . .

Memo and his dad Abdullah in the Istanbul Int'l airport, in happier times back in 2005.

Lots of teams face injuries during the season, it's just part of the game. Very few teams face a multitude of injuries/absences to the same position at the same time though. The zenith of it was a game against Philadelphia where Memo had to leave to fly to see his dad in Turkey, Jarron Collins was injured, Kyrylo Fesenko had to leave the country because of a work visa problem, and the Jazz had to start a 19 year old Kosta Koufos -- and Kosta had to defend guys like Elton Brand and Sam Dalembert all night long. The Jazz actually won that game. How crazy is that? All hail expanded rosters and 4th string (actually he should be 2nd) centers! [Sadly, this was one of the first games of the season -- and the most RECENT game recap on All That Jazz]

The injury situation has been absurd this season for the Utah Jazz . . . heck, yesterday our injured team owner even passed away. Never has a team been so cursed with injuries it seems. Well, there is good news -- so don't jump off any bridges yet. Right now the Jazz are the least injured they have been all season -- with only one key guy (Boozer) who is out. And rumor has it that he will be ready to play next week. The Jazz have managed to position themselves in the playoff hunt, and they are only 5 games behind in their division. Utah plays Denver twice yet this season, so if the Jazz win those two games then they only need to make up 3 more -- which is easily done if we come back hungry and healthy in this 2nd half of the season. It's a good time to be a Jazz fan, because as dark as things look now, things are only going to get better. After all, in the last few games the Jazz have (while still not at full strength) knocked off the LA Lakers and Boston Celtics.

Oh, if the Jazz do win the division Jerry Sloan should get COY . . . all the other playoff teams would have died by now with 157 injuries (spread unequally among the rotation guys). So here's to a healthy next 27 (+playoffs) games!

Go Jazz Go!

1 comments:

dwillfan said...

first, welcome back.

second, you forgot that even the bear got injured...