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A Question Of Choice Or Ethics?

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Recently, a Utah Jazz player, Mehmet Okus, had a situation that brought up a question of ethics. Early in April, Okur was suffering from tendonitis and he missed some games while it was healing. Like everybody else, he knew that he was a player that will be badly needed if Jazz had a chance to win the play-off series. He was not yet completely healed when he decided to get back in the floor and play in Game 1 against the Nuggets play-off.

Sadly, after just playing a few minutes, Okus felt and heard a pop which prompted him to leave the game assisted by the trainers. The MRI results show that he tore his Achilles tendon and the injury was more serious this time. It requires surgery and some time off for rehabilitation.

Now it is sure that he is out of the play-offs. His injuries are one of the most severe an athlete can experience. There are reports Okur was given a shot for pain relief just before the game started. Kevin O’Connor, Jazz General Manager said he felt he had to give him the shot and it had no connection at all to Okur’s previous injury. But that is highly unlikely.

A person knows when his body is feeling pain and when it’s a sign that things are not right. At times an athlete can bear the pain and go on with the game, and at other times their career might just suddenly end because of the injury.

Was Okur aware that he was taking a big risk by attending that game Saturday night? Were the coaches and trainers aware of his physical state? This seems to be a tough situation because recently there had been a number of players who refuse to play even if they only have a headache or an upset stomach. Considering the large of money they get as salaries, that just doesn’t seem to be right.

On the other hand, if the injury is real, the athlete shouldn’t be forced to play if he is not well yet. Unfortunately, Okur made a decision that led to more serious consequences. We wish him well as he starts his journey back to recovery.

Nancy Smith is a co- owner of RobbinsSports.com. It is an online retailer specializing in Baseball Uniforms and Gym Bags.