Following his antics over the past 18 months regarding his impending free agency, we (fans and other NBA observers in general) have been given free range to take potshots at his character. But accompanying an announcement that he would miss tomorrow’s preseason game against the Utah Jazz is a not insignificant revelation regarding the seriousness of his back injury last year:
“What a lot of people don’t know is when I hurt my back, it affected my nerves to the point where my whole left leg just went dead basically,” the Lakers center said Thursday. “I couldn’t do a calf raise.”
“I had some issues early in the season and I just kept playing through it — some back spasms and things,” he said. “I really didn’t say anything. With all the stuff that was going on, I just didn’t want anybody thinking that I was trying to quit on my team or anything like that. Instead of me just sitting out, I just wanted to keep playing and show everybody that I was still with the team.”
Putting aside the charming observation of Dwight’s first reaction to nerve damage being that he couldn’t lift weights, the news does add a little bit of context to his injury situation last season.
Call him a ninny all you want (as I have) for his indecision and disingenuous approach to his future, but don’t question the man’s toughness (or his love for doing calf raises).