If he had not needed surgery, Anderson Varejao would be packing his bags for Houston and the All-Star Game right now. Nobody was noticing because nobody was watching Cavaliers games before Kyrie Irving got back, but Varejao was averaging better than 14 points and 14 rebounds a game with a PER of 21.8.
But what started as a pretty routine quadriceps surgery led to a blood clot in his lungs that required another surgery to save his life, the Brazilian big man explained to Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.
“I was having my best season, the best time of my life, and a week later I’m in the hospital and I could be dead,” Varejao said. “It’s crazy. I’m very lucky.”
Varejao is alive in part because he was honest with team doctors — after his surgery he started having back pain and trouble sleeping, which he told them about rather than just try to “be a man” and tough it out. Doctors then discovered the clot.
“They told me stories like, ‘Oh my God, I had a friend who died of a blood clot in their lung,’ ” Varejao said. “And then somebody else tells me the same thing. …
“Then you start to think about it and realize that this is more serious than I thought. A week after the surgery I was at home thinking about how I could be gone right now.”
Varejao has been cleared to travel and will go with the team on its next road trip, but he will not return the court this season. Which makes the chances of him being traded at the deadline pretty much nonexistent.
But all of that is trivial compared to what could have happened. Fortunately it got dealt with and Varejao will be back on the court next season.
The New York Knicks couldn’t get out of their own way on Thursday night, even with a historic performance from Carmelo Anthony. With the Washington Wizards in town, it was John Wall‘s finishing ability that pushed the Wiz over New York, 113-110.
The final 45 seconds were hectic, as Wall took the lead for Washington with just 32 seconds left after drawing a foul on Carmelo.
Down by 1, Anthony then missed a jumper with 18 seconds left and the Knicks allowed Wall to do this:
Wall would go on to steal the final possession from the Knicks, and the Wizards left MSG with a win.
Gregg Popovich can be a fiesty dude, and sometimes he just wants to get his team pumped up. After news that Pau Gasol was going to be absent from the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, perhaps this was his way of doing that?
Late in the second quarter in Denver, Popovich was seen arguing with a baseline official as play continued on. Pop was hit with an initial tech, and as the officiating crew walked away he blasted ’em with the best dad insult I’ve heard in a long time.
“You’re a terrible referee!”
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Mudiay was more than happy to assist with the second technical and ejection portion of Popovich’s tirade.
Long Live Pop.
Kristaps Porzingis is “The Unicorn” perhaps in part because of his high basketball awareness on the offensive end of the floor. On Thursday night against the Washington Wizards, the New York Knicks big man had an incredible putback dunk that surprised even his teammates.
Thanks to a missed Courtney Lee 3-pointer, Porzingis was able to fly in from beyond the arc to slam home two points.
Yeah, that’s crazy.
There’s putback dunks and then there’s flying in from beyond the 3-point line like this one. Wild.
The San Antonio Spurs will have to make do without PF/C for a while Pau Gasol thanks to a recent fracture in his left ring finger.
That’s according to a press release from the team, who said Gasol fractured his fourth metacarpal — the bone that connects the ring finger down to the carpal bones in the wrist area — during warmups before a game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
No word yet from the team on recovery time, but estimates given similar recent NBA player injuries suggest anywhere from 4-8 weeks.
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward missed the first month of the season after fracturing his finger in early October. Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving missed around a month in 2012 with a similar injury.
Here’s hoping Gasol can make it back to the court quickly for the Spurs.