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A Question Of Choice Or Ethics?

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A recent situation concerning one of the players of the Utah Jazz (Mehmet Okur), brings up a question of ethics. Okur was suffering from tendonitis early in April and missed a few games while he hoped it was healing. He knew (as did everyone else) that his size and efforts would be badly needed if the Jazz had any hopes of winning a play-off series. While some healing was probably taking place, it was obvious that he was still not in complete readiness to take the floor again. Yet that is just what he did in game 1 of the Jazz/Nuggets play-off. Unfortunately, after playing only a few minutes, he heard and felt a “pop” and left the game assisted by his trainers. An MRI revealed that Memo had now torn the Achilles tendon and the injury was much more serious than the original tendonitis and would require surgery and a long period of rehabilitation. He is most certainly out for the rest of the play-offs and who knows how long beyond that. Such Achilles injuries are considered among the worst for professional athletes to come back from. It was reported that Okur was given a pain numbing shot just prior to the beginning of the game. Jazz General Manager, Kevin O-Connor stated that he felt that administering of that shot had nothing to do with the subsequent injury to Okur but one has to wonder. When the body is feeling pain it is a signal that things aren’t right. Sometimes an athlete can play through the pain and not suffer any lasting injury and sometimes it ends their career. Was Mehmet aware of the chance he was taking by starting that game on Saturday night? Were the trainers and coaches aware of the risk? This is a tough situation because there seems to be a number of players in the NBA today who refuse to suit up and play if they have so much as a headache or an upset stomach and considering how much money they are being paid that is just not right. On the other hand, if the injury is legitimate, no one should want to see a player get back on the court before his body is ready. Sadly, the decision that had Okur playing in Saturday nights game has had extreme consequences. Our best wishes are with Okur as he begins the long road back to good health and hopefully, more years of playing the sport he loves so much.

Nancy Smith is one of the owners of RobbinsSports.com, an online retailer specializing in Baseball Uniforms and Gym Bags.