Wednesday night, an tweet from NBC's Pro Basketball Talk, in reference to the recovery of Sixers point guard Michael Carter-Williams from offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder, set Twitter ablaze.
Michael Carter-Williams says he was told injury could cost him 50 games http://t.co/YsAYUbUf4f— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) October 16, 2014
Yikes. That certainly came out of nowhere, especially if you've been paying attention to what's been coming out of Sixers camp for most of the preseason, which has included quotes from head coach Brett Brown last Thursday saying the defending Rookie of the Year was progressing nicely, but was still "a few weeks away," in his opinion.
Carter-Williams himself said "...I feel great. If it was up to me, I'd be out there playing right now. I want to be out there. I feel unbelievable. I feel 100 percent."
So where all of a sudden were we getting 50 games on the shelf for MCW? What happened? What did I miss? Did he re-tear his labrum? Or is this a new injury? Was he at the trampoline park with Rajon Rondo? Maybe he slipped on some Gatorade, or perhaps got run over by an off-course Flyers defenseman trying to catch up to the play? I HAVE TO CLICK ON THIS ARTICLE TO FIND OUT.
And mission accomplished.
The PBT post pulled two passages from this article, written by Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News, which said the following:
He said Monday he was told his recovery period would be 6 to 9 months. Carter-Williams has been able to do a lot of drills with the team since training camp, but is still not allowed to play during contact drills.
Brett Brown said yesterday that the 2- to 4-month recovery period initially reported was not correct.
"I heard somebody say 2 months. I don’t know where that information came from. That’s inaccurate," the coach told reporters.
Boy, that does sound like new information. Unless of course, you read the full article instead of just that quick hit version linked in the NBC Sports piece, which featured this quote from the second-year point guard.
"I am getting a little itchy to play. The surgery diagnosis was, I was supposed to be out from 6 to 9 months, but I'm plenty ahead of schedule. I feel great. I wish I was playing."
Now, obviously, you can't always take a player's word for things on injuries, because there's very few players who would say they're not anxious to get back on the court. He's probably not nearly as far ahead of schedule as he thinks he is, and clearly the Sixers management and doctors share that belief.
The "could miss 50 games" quote from the headline stems from putting him on the shelf for 9 months from the date of Carter-Williams' surgery on May 6. The problem is that a 6-to-9 month timetable is in itself very ambiguous, and purposely so. It's intentionally conservative. It allows for early setbacks in the process, including the potential that some athletes, or simply mere mortals, just don't heal from the surgery as fast as others.
But Carter-Williams is five months removed from surgery and is participating in drills and shooting basketballs. The only thing he hasn't done is participate in contact activities, which makes sense, given that he's five months removed from a major shoulder surgery that he was told would take him at least six months to recover from. I'm not a doctor, and my required science courses at Temple were in computer science and geology, but it seems like his recovery is certainly headed in the right direction rather than one that would lead to the most conservative scenario.
The Sixers never issued a timeline for MCW's recovery. It's not like they said from the outset that he'd be out for two months and now it's month 5 and he's not ready to go. This isn't Andrew Bynum, where they issued timeline after timeline after timeline, only to see all of the timelines be proven wrong.
This article might not be clickbait with sinister intentions, but it's not new information, it's not presented with a total representation of the facts, and that headline is certainly designed to make your brain go "WAIT WHAT FIFTY GAMES NOOOOOOOOOOOO WORST TEAM EVER."
Barring a setback, Carter-Williams is not likely to miss 50 games. Take a deep breath, everybody. There's no need to panic. We can save that panic for the next article about Joel Embiid's recovery.