Is Anything Possible?
I love Kevin Garnett. He's been my favorite NBA star since his days in Minnesota. As a Celtics fan, it was pretty hard to watch the C's struggle without KG in the playoffs. I think the Celtics would still be playing for the title right now with KG out there. So why wasn't he?
Garnett's not playing became a bit tougher to take when the news out of Boston Bruins breakup day came out yesterday.
Check out the injuries these players played with in the Carolina series:
Phil Kessel (2008-09 salary: $2.2m) - Torn rotator cuff, shoulder labrum - Will need surgery, expected to miss part of training camp. Played full series.
David Krejci ($883,333) - Torn hip labrum - Will need surgery, expected to be out 4-6 months. Played full series.
Chuck Kobasew ($2.3m) - Two broken ribs. Played full series.
Mark Recchi ($1.5m) - Had kidney stones surgically removed in between Games 6 and 7. Played full series.
Andrew Ference ($1.4m)- Torn groin, pelvis injurt - Will need surgery. Played 3 games.
These are just the major injuries. According to The Bruins Blog: Other Bruins who played through injuries included Marc Savard (knee), Milan Lucic (toe), and Zdeno Chara (shoulder, knee, and groin). Chara will not require surgery on any of his injuries. Savard noted that his knee problem probably would have kept him out for two weeks during the regular season.
So as the Bruins key players gutted it out through major injuries (Kessel: leading goal scorer, Krejci: 2nd on team in points), KG sat.
Hoping for the benefit of the doubt, knowing KG's intensity, I'm willing to wager that the Celtics feared KG furthering injury to his knee as a costly risk they could not take (KG made $24.75m this year and will make $16.4m next year.)
But, in the "me first" genaration of athletes, it's good to know that a championship means more to some players than their paycheck.