Kings rookie Hassan Whiteside struggled with an injury all season that was eventually called a torn patellar tendon, requiring surgery. The Bee's Jason Jones did an update on Whiteside this weekend. Paul Westphal has this quote about Whiteside playing on the injured knee:
"A young player has to understand the difference between pain and injury," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "You have to give Hassan credit for trying to play through the pain but you have to know the difference."
The difference between pain and injury is revealed through a medical process, not by feel. Sure, a lot of people can tell when they are sore vs. when they are hurt. Physically active folks do this all the time. Athletes do this all the time. But if this kid -- this 20-year-old -- had a torn patellar, you'd think the Kings' medical staff would have known.
Let's look at the timeline.
October 5, 2010: Whiteside sits out the Kings' first preseason game with a strained patellar after missing a number of practice.
October 2010: Whiteside appears in some preseason games and plays two minutes in the team's regular season opener.
November 29, 2010: Whiteside assigned to Reno.
January 9, 2011: Whiteside recalled from Reno.
February 2, 2011: Kings report Whiteside has a partially torn patellar and will miss two weeks.
March 4, 2011: Whiteside has surgery to repair partially torn patellar.
So the injury happens in October, and he has surgery in March. Where along the way was Whiteside -- not a doctor, in case you're wondering -- supposed to realize that his knee was more than "sore," that it was "hurt?" He was able to play, after all. The Kings' medical staff obviously evaluated him a few times. But where's the responsibility lay? With the player to figure out his own body? Or with the docs, trainers and coaching staff?
Does Geoff Petrie hold some responsibility for shipping Whiteside to Reno when not fully healthy?
Should Westphal be laying blame on a 20-year-old kid for "letting" his strained knee become a torn tendon?
Isn't this all a bit ... weird?
I flag this with a vivid memory of the franchise doubting Kevin Martin's ankle injury (turned out to be bone chips) at the end of the 2008-09 season, and the weirdness surrounding the conflicting reports from the Kings and Team Tyreke on the severity of Evans' plantar fasciitis. (The Kings went out of their way to refer to it as "mild plantar fasciitis" in all press releases and announcement.) I don't think the Kings are bad at this or intentionally want their kids hurt. But there seems to be a bit of a pattern here.