As a basketball fan, even if you root for the Lakers, it is tough to see a guy go down in the NBA Finals. Kendrick Perkins‘ knee injury appears to rule him out for Game 7. If he is indeed out, I don’t think the Celtics will be able to recover and win the game.
Reports are that Perkins has a sprained knee with sprained MCL and PCL ligaments. If that is the case, Perkins could play, but his effectiveness would clearly be hampered. John Jenkins, a rising sophomore shooting guard at Vanderbilt University, sprained his knee against DePaul this past season, and talked about the effect the injury will have on Perkins’ game:
“I was in a lot of pain when I sprained my knee,” says Jenkins. “The pain can sometimes be overwhelming physically and mentally, but it’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals, so I think he will fight through it and play.
“It is really hard to play with an injured knee though because you use your knee for almost everything in basketball,” adds Jenkins. “The knee really affects your ability to move well. You have to find new ways to make cuts, get open and play defense because your knee can no longer do what you expect it to do. I think the knee will certainly hurt Perkins’ ability to alter shots, get up for rebounds and play defense which is what he contributes best to the Celtics.”
With Perkins potentially out for Game 7 (and less effective if he does play), the Celtics will be hard pressed to beat the Lakers. Perkins is the Celtics’ biggest body in the post, and despite his lack of an offensive game, his size, defense and rebounding are keys to igniting the Celtics’ running game. Perkins sets the tone for Boston’s defense and is not afraid to mix it up inside (or with officials for that matter). He epitomizes the Celtics “Ubuntu” concept, doing exactly what he needs to do and not trying to do anything more. Perkins knows his role on the team, and he excels at it. Without Perkins as an enforcer in the low-post, Boston’s options for limiting Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum down low are limited.
Perkins is really the only guy on the team who can size up Gasol and Bynum, and without him, those guys will have big game sevens. Glen Davis has girth, but is at a significant height disadvantage against both Gasol and Bynum. Rasheed Wallace can guard both guys, but his penchant for foul trouble leaves his ability to play more minutes in doubt. Kevin Garnett is still very capable of guarding those two players, but without Perkins roughing it up inside for 25 minutes, he will need to revert back to his 2008 form defensively and become the defensive enforcer that Perkins has been.
Also, the Celtics cannot allow Shelden Williams to get onto the floor. He is an absolute liability on both ends of the floor and unless two of the Celtics’ three remaining big men (KG, Davis and Wallace) foul out, Williams should not get time.
While the Celtics need Perkins, according to doctor Robert D’Agostini of Bedminster Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, there are three concerns when any player plays with a sprained knee that should cause him to think twice:
“The first concern is, ‘Can he do more damage to the structure of the ligament if he plays?’ The second concern is, ‘Can he injure other parts of his knee by overcompensating?’ The third concern is, ‘Can he hurt his team on the floor with his bad knee?’ The answer to all these concerns is yes, the player is taking a significant risk of hurting himself and the team by suiting up.”
What do you think? Should Perkins play in Game 7?
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