March 27, 2007

The Injury Plague Strikes Again...

I can still hear Jorge Garbajosa screaming.

The MLSE Injury Plague has struck once again.

The Raptors lost last night to the pitiful Boston Celtics, but they lost much more, as Jorge Garbajosa is done for the year after breaking his leg.

The Raptors haven't said that Garbo is done, or that he broke is leg, but I saw it live, so believe me. He's done.

This was one of those freak injuries. I'm talking Carlos Beltran's face smacking into Mike Cameron's face at full speed; that type of freak injury. That's the last one I can remember seeing that left me feeling a bit queasy (like I just had a poutine from Burger King).

The ironic part is that the injury only happened because Garbo works so bloody hard. Damn him and his excellent work ethic. He raced down the floor after a Raptors miss and tried his hardest to contest a slam dunk by Al Jefferson. The Raps were down by eight and needed some stops, so Garbo was out there busting his ass. Anything less, for Garbo, would be uncivilized. Garbo went up, there was contact with Jefferson, and he came crushing down on his left leg.

It buckled.

It broke.

And, oh my, it was not pretty.

As soon as Garbo hit the floor he knew he was in trouble and signalled for the bench. Then he looked at his leg. Then he started screaming.

It's tough to pick up sounds off the court on tv, but I could hear loud and clear on my television that this man was in serious agony. Everyone in that arena could hear Garbo's shrieks. It was tough to watch.

Jose Calderon was the first one on the scene at Garbo's side and he knew his teammate, and fellow Spaniard, was in big trouble. He clutched Garbo's head and it was clear that Calderon was struggling with the fact that he couldn't help his fallen comrade.

Calderon did the right thing, however, by grabbing a towel from the towel boy to cover up Garbajosa's twisted leg. It was tough enough to hear Garbo's screams full of anguish. Nobody needed to see his leg lying twisted the wrong way.

To my astonishment, Sportsnet showed multiple replays of the injury. I don't know what the hell they're smoking over there, but really, no one needs to see that from multiple angles. We know it's bad. We get it. Thanks.

The depleted Raptors, who signed Luke Jackson (who?) to a 10-day contract on Sunday, are just getting clobbered with injuries right now. The ankle sprains are one thing, but this one is serious. Sam Mitchell and Co. just lost a key member of their starting rotation, surely for the rest of this season. When a guy goes down the way Garbo did, in such agony, you know he's not coming back anytime soon.

It was disturbing to watch Garbo practically go into shock and start screaming like a madman. Everyone on the Raptors bench had to turn away when they saw him come down. There's a feeling of helplessness like no other when you see a guy hit the floor like that. I thought the Raps might make a run and win the game for Garbo, but it just wasn't to be. The team played one of their weaker games all year, and after Garbo went down, the life went right out of them.

Garbo, although inconsistent most of the season, has been a true warrior for the Raptors. He plays hard every night and is one of the Raptors that hits the floor with regularity. He's always chasing down loose balls and doing whatever he can to help the team win. He doesn't know any other way. He could have jogged down the court last night and let Jefferson slam it uncontested, but that's not the Garbo way. He was going to do his best to block the shot, and that's why his season is over.

This is another tough pill for the Raptors to swallow, especially with the playoffs so close I can touch them. The ball club will address the media with the usual "it's time for someone else to step up," but this is a significant injury. The Raptors, remember, struggle at that thing called, what is it, rebounding. They just lost their second-best rebounder for the rest of the season, at 4.9 a game.

The Raptors have dealt with a lot of injuries this season - to pretty much all their top players (Bosh, Ford, Parker, Bargnani) - but this one, just the way it went down, man, it really hurts.
It sucks, but there's nothing that can be done about it. Someone really is going to have to step up and pick up Garbo's boards and his points.

The Raptors, like the Leafs, have proven to be resilient in the face of the MLSE Injury Plague. They've done a remarkable job and I am confident they will once again answer the call in the face of adversity. These aren't the Raptors of old; these guys are winners.

But please, no more injuries. The Raptors and Leafs have suffered enough. Damn you MLSE Injury Plague, damn you.

Goodnight, Toronto...


Nitin said...

I heard Garbo is gonna be out for 6 months... not surprising considering how bad that injury looked. The worst part of this is that he was hustling to make that play... when he gets healthy and is able to play... I think this is the type of injury that could affect the way he plays. Maybe not... but after hearing those screams... I don't think anyone could question him...

I can still hear him. The worst was seeing Jefferson look down at him, then turn away when he saw Garbo's foot.


Nitin said...

p.s. you forgot about the good news of the nite... the THRASHING of the Canes. What a solid game. And #19 for the Poni express! Go leafs go!