Kevin Pelton, SUPERSONICS.COM
| March 7, 2006
A day after an MRI found that he has a partially torn plantar fascia in his left foot, a disappointed Seattle SuperSonics forward Nick Collison
hobbled onto the court at The Furtado Center Tuesday afternoon to chat with the media, his left foot in a protective boot and crutches under his arms.
"We were starting to play well and I was playing pretty well," said Collison. "It's frustrating to have to sit, but I think with any injury it's like that."
"It's just too bad for Nick," commented Sonics Coach Bob Hill. "He was playing so well. That's kind of been the theme of the year. We kind of get it going and then something happens. Somebody gets sick, somebody gets hurt. But you've got to learn to play with who's available."
"We were starting to play well and I was playing pretty well. It's frustrating to have to sit."
Collison said he'd been feeling a little bit of pain in his left foot the last couple of weeks, consistent with the early symptoms of plantar fasciitis, chronic pain in the foot and heel. The injury became far more serious during Sunday's win over the Utah Jazz.
"I went up for a rebound and my foot was kind of arched," Collison said. "It put a lot of pressure on that point, and it seemed like it popped, right at that spot, and tore it.
"I didn't know if I tore it, but I knew it was really sore. I went down the court one more possession, then the quarter was over and I went back to the training room. It became really sore back there and swelled up a little bit."
The expected timeline is that Collison will miss approximately four weeks. He'll wear the boot for another week before being re-evaluated. Beyond that, his return will be based on future MRIs and the amount of pain Collison feels. With only six weeks left in the regular season, Collison's year could be over, but he dismissed that notion.
"Once it's healed, it's healed," he said.
"Once it gets to a point where I can play, I'll play it out and we'll go from there."
Between now and then, Chris Wilcox steps up to replace Collison in the starting lineup. He started twice last month when Collison missed games for the birth of his daughter, totaling 34 points on 14-for-21 shooting and grabbing 13 rebounds. It's an opportunity for Wilcox to show what he can do in a regular starting role.
"I think Chris probably eventually wants to be a starter," said Hill. "He's going to get his chance, so we'll see how it plays out."
Behind Wilcox, Hill has several options, starting with veteran Mikki Moore.
"I can also use Noel (Felix) some there and I can use Rashard (Lewis) some there and play Damien (Wilkins) at three," Hill explained. "It's going to make us a little different, but I think we can be effective that way."
What Hill does not plan to do, at least for now, is play centers Johan Petro and Robert Swift together. The two played five minutes alongside each other in the Sonics loss at Houston on Feb. 3, the only time Hill has used the double-post lineup thus far this season.
"I told them when I became the coach, 'Your lives are going to change,'" said Hill. "Their lives have changed, and I don't want to make it any worse or harder than it's already been, so I doubt that I'll do that. I might. If the situation's right, I might.
"I still believe that down the road we'll be able to do that."
Swift tweaked his ankle during Sunday's game, which has kept him from being able to do any work the last two days.
"We had skill work yesterday, and I was really disappointed he couldn't go yesterday," said Hill. "Then they wanted him to stay off it tomorrow. I'm pretty sure he'll play tomorrow."
Felix stayed on the court well after practice to work individually with Sonics assistant Detlef Schrempf as he continues to make the transition to small forward from the post, where he played throughout his college career as well as in the CBA.