Let’s get this out of the way, Celtics fans: I’m not worried about Kelly Olynyk’s wrist injury.
While some people may argue that Olynyk’s wrist injury, coupled with the much more horrific injury suffered by Indiana’s Paul George, provide proof that professional athletes should not suit up for their countries for worthless events like the FIBA World Cup, I have no problem with a guy wanting to play basketball for his country.
The FIBA World Cup may not be as large as FIFA’s World Cup, but any team you can represent your country in a world-wide tournament, I say, “Go for it.” You could injure yourself walking to your car, for cripes sakes, so refusing to play ball in the World Cup doesn’t guarantee a player good health.
Still, when you look at Kelly Olynyk‘s summer, you have to wonder if he is playing a little TOO much basketball. Let’s imagine the Boston Celtics’ big man did not tweak his wrist in a tune-up game for Team Canada. Let’s say he makes it through the summer entirely unscathed. Yay for him . . . but at some point, the wear and tear of so much basketball is going to begin to exert a toll on his body.
Mental fatigue. Physical fatigue during the second half of the 2014-2015 season. Injuries that result from the stress that is constantly being applied to Olynyk’s body.
I’m not trying to be a naysayer here. When you love to do something, you want to do it. No one expects Kelly Olynyk, any member of the Boston Celtics, or any player in the NBA, to go an entire summer without picking up a basketball. If Patrick Kane can lace up his skates for a beer league game in Buffalo, you know professional ballers are going to play during the months they have off.
Still, the offseason exists for a reason: play too much, and your body will break down. Every professional sports league wants to extend its regular season; every players’ union wants to resist that change. The leagues think they would make a lot more money if they had more games on the schedule, but at some point, more games would equal more star players sitting due to injury. Most people would argue that the regular seasons are already too long, and that athletes don’t have long enough to heal up. The human body can only take so much, and the offseason is an athlete’s time to heal, mentally unwind, and begin preparing the body for the next grueling season.
As a parent, I am probably guilty of pushing my kids a little too much some times, but unlike some dads who make their kids play one sport year-round, I firmly believe that when one season ends, it ends. Move on. Maybe play another sport, continue exercising, but move on. Research tends to support this approach, and the fact that so many professional athletes spend their summers playing golf (for example) seems to support the notion that too much of a sport is not a good thing.
The Boston Celtics are a young team looking to rebuild into a championship contender, and while Kelly Olynyk is not likely to become the star of the team, he is a valuable player who should wind up playing a very important role in the Celtics’ rise from the ashes of basketball obscurity. I would prefer to see him have a break-out year, not one that sees him on injured reserve.
So, between his playing summer ball down in Orlando, playing exhibition games for Team Canada, and later on competing in the FIBA World Cup, is it possible that Olynyk is guilty of being too much of a basketball junkie? Or I am just being a worry wart? As always, I love to hear your thoughts, and I promise to respond if you write something that isn’t totally troll-like!