Starting with the Philadelphia 76'ers, why all the mystery surrounding Markelle Fultz' disappearing act. I wrote about Markelle's injury previously and with three-quarters of the season gone, so is Fultz. On the surface it appears that his broken shot is caused by a shoulder injury that should have been alleviated by now via rehab and/or surgery. Watching the brief video below is painful, because of both the ugly free throw and the uneasy expression on Markelle's face. But the ugliest part of this situation is the mystery created by the 76ers organization.

Now on to the San Antonio Spurs. I did not expect this type of drama from one of the most solid organizations in the NBA. Kawhi Leonard is supposedly dealing with a quad injury that has kept him out of all but nine games this season. For those games he has averaged 23.3 MPG, 16.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2.0 SPG and 1.0 BPG. His career minutes average 30.4, so why the 23.3 this season. But for those minutes, the numbers are very Kawhi-like. His shooting percentages are okay at .468 on field goals, .314 on threes and .816 on foul shots.

Spurs Coach Greg Popovich, he of the brief-and-blunt answers, was a bit talkative (for him) and somewhat melancholy, while answering questions about Leonard's disappearance.

Now let's fast-forward to the Marcus Smart injury and its handling by the Celtics organization. Marcus injured his hand on January 24, 2018 after punching a glass picture frame. Two days later, all of the facts relative to the injury were made public, by both the Celtics organization and Marcus himself.

According to MassLive's Jay King a piece of glass had to be removed from Smart's hand, and had that piece cut a tendon, he would have had to end his 2017-18 campaign. Boston fans got all of the facts surrounding the injury, and they got them quickly. No mystery. No attempt to hide what occurred.

The NBA and its teams owe the fans something. No fans - no NBA! Danny Ainge may hedge his words when discussing potential trades and draft ideas, and that is to be expected. But he is to be commended on the handling of the Smart incident, as is Marcus himself for being so open to the fans as to what happened.

The Boston Celtics have a large following beyond their loyal fans. They are exciting and fun to watch. In the videos of Markelle Fultz and Greg Popovich, you can see sadness. Why is that? What is going on? Injuries happen in the NBA. When they are clouded in mystery, suspicion surfaces and fans start to distrust their teams and those that run them. We still don't know if Fultz or Leonard will return this season, or even be with their present teams for the next campaign. Boston fans know that Smart will be back in the fight very soon, and we know why he was out for roughly a month. Clarity wins out over mystery!

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Dave Reginek/Getty Images
Fultz video via Scouts Honor

Tom Lane 2/23/2018 05:35:00 AM Edit
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