I admire Raymond Felton's grit. I really do. But, as I typed about today over at The Sports Section, there comes a point at which playing through injury becomes inflicting your injury on the team's prospects of winning. Mr. Penguinduckdog is down to seven functional digits after spraining his pinky yesterday in Los Angeles and, as of last night, was finally considering a break:
"If it’s as tough in the fourth quarter when I couldn’t shoot the ball like I wanted to do, I’m not going to try to play,‘’ Felton said. "We’ll see. We’ll see what happens. I can’t answer that right now.’’
At last, we may have found the injury threshold at which Raymond achieves self awareness. Yes, Ray. Take the night off. Take a couple if you have to. I don't know why having sore, lifeless hands emboldens Felton to attempt MORE feats of dexterity (now attempting 19 shots per game in December after 14.2 per game in November), but it's really not helping matters.
The beauty of this New York roster is the depth it boasts at every position; injury absences may occur without a massive talent drop-off. Time to embrace the depth and accept an injury absence, right? Hand Pablo Prigioni and Jason Kidd the reins for a night or two, swaddle Ray's sore flippers in all the bandages, wax, ice, and marmalade they need to recuperate, and get back to full staff in the New Year. If it makes for some difficulty in Phoenix and Sacramento, so be it, but I suspect giving guys with operative hands custody of the ball will be a boon of sorts to New York's offense.
On that note, New Year's could be Amar'e Stoudemire's debut, though I'm done believing reports of a return date until I actually see it. And in other injury news, Steve Novak probably doesn't have a concussion after Metta World Peace tickled his cheekbone yesterday. Good.