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It's not just players who go take huge steps to get back on the court

Sep 19, 2010, 12:57 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for javie.jpgSteve Javie is like a lot of NBA veteran players this time of year — he is excited, but wonders if his body will let him enjoy that excitement.

We’re used to stories of NBA players going under the knife, trying experimental procedures, enduring a lot of pain for a couple more years on the court. Just a little more run.

Javie has been doing the same thing. An interesting story from Brooklyn’s best NBA writer Howard Beck at the New York Times details what Javie has been going through.

Even Javie is unsure how long his comeback will last. He has no cartilage left in his knee, a result of 30 years of wear and tear. When he runs, “it’s bone on bone,” he said. Javie could have reconstructive surgery, but it would require a year of recovery, and the prosthetics are not designed for the abuse of an N.B.A. schedule.

So Javie has been working hard to strengthen his quadriceps and hamstrings to take some pressure off the knee. He has undergone platelet-rich plasma therapy, which some doctors believe could help regenerate cartilage. Javie also recently began receiving viscous injections that simulate cartilage and provide some buffer between the bones. He hopes the injections “can buy me another year or two.”

Javie will find out in the preseason if he can do it. He has been running some with no swelling or pain lately, but nothing like the strain an NBA season will put on that knee. Like a lot of veteran players, he is unsure.

There are fans of the Blazers — heck, fans of 30 teams — probably rooting against Javie. Every team’s fanbase is convinced Javie has it in for them. But the story of a guy gutting out for one or two more seasons — and in this case not millions of dollars — says something about his love of the game.

  1. R. W. Frost - Sep 20, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    Four years ago I met and became friends with an NBA ref, who happens to be my brother-in-law’s next door neighbor. After I got to know him well enough for him to respond to my continual questioning about the NBA, one of the first questions he actually answered was “who do you think is the best ref in the business.” I was surprised that without hesitation, he said “Steve Javie.” And even more surprising, he said that the rest of the refs concurred with that opinion. Having felt that Javie had it in for my favorite team (which I won’t mention here), I told my ref buddy that I thought Javie was a hothead and had it out for my guys. My buddy laughed, and told me that when when he was a rookie ref coming in, Javie told him that he got his reputation by deciding that he would begin his career by being known throughout the league as the quickest tech in the business. By the end of his third season, he had gained the rep among the players as a guy you just don’t mess with, because he’ll T you up before he’ll look at you. And once he had gained that reputation, he didn’t have to do much to keep it up, and his games are very peaceable as a result. So since then, I’ve paid special attention to the games Javie refs, and have come to really admire and respect him, and I see that the players and coaches do, by and large, as well. He loves the game, rarely makes a bad call, he actually has a very funny sense of humor, and when he does make a bad call, he will sometimes own up and reverse it – which is something any NBA fan knows is about as rare as finding a four leaf clover on the court (Dick Bavetta, anyone?). So I, for one, am rooting for Mr. Javie’s recovery, and hope to see him out there this season in full form.

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