By Abby Sims
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38-year-old Rasheed Wallace faced reality on Wednesday and opened up a spot on the Knicks’ roster by announcing his retirement. Though it was evidently hoped that he would mend in time to contribute in the playoffs, it must have been obvious that it was not to be.
Why then did coach Mike Woodson have Wallace play for four minutes on Monday before leaving the court with soreness in his post-operative foot? Wasn’t Wallace’s condition evident in practice? Four minutes should not have tested him as much as drills and practice would have. Maybe someone wanted to prove a point.
Wallace played in only 21 games this season, starting out with what was diagnosed as a stress reaction in his left fifth metatarsal. It was eventually called a fracture and it necessitated surgical repair. It’s a rough way to go out, but Wallace was pushing his luck this season, and after an illustrious career it is time to go.
On a related note, the Knicks are resting 2013 scoring champion Carmelo Anthony (“sore left shoulder” and possibly knee?), Tyson Chandler (cervical disc) and Kenyon Martin (left ankle/knee) in Wednesday night’s game, the final of the regular season. It’s a wise move, and it’s perhaps an especially obvious one in the aftermath of Kobe Bryant’s Achilles rupture, which was sustained while playing on a sprained ankle.
Don’t for a minute believe that a day or two of rest will enable any of these guys to heal sufficiently to be at full capacity when the playoffs begin. Those not recouping from injury and sitting out (like Kevin Durant) will benefit the most from a day to refresh.
There’s no doubt that those injured will benefit too, but players like Anthony, on whom the team’s success rests, will be extending themselves and feeling the pain when they are back out there competing.
Will the Knicks’ health catch up with them in the playoffs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…