This whole deal with Garbo and whether or not he should have had surgery is bordering on ridiculous if you think about it. The fact that we are only now arriving at a situation between team and player (and national basketball team and country) months after the incident took place and months after the Euros, just shows how poorly this whole thing has been handled.
I tend to side more with players when it gets down to these sort of situations, because I think players more often than not, do not have their point of view always expressed as clearly and with as much spin work as the organization does. But this time, I really have to side with the Raptors, but just barely.
Let’s make this very clear from the start. There is no way Garbo should have been playing in the Euros. Sure, the Raptors had the insurance out on him and he was cleared (by somebody) to play, but that was a situation where the Raptors brass should have stepped up and said, look dude, there is no way you are playing in this tournament, especially if you aren’t having surgery on your leg. What athlete do you know who when confronted by doctors saying that he needs surgery to get his body back to where it needs to be to compete, will look them in the face and say, “Nah, I’ll be alright.” This wasn’t like he had a strained muscle. Anyone who saw Garbo’s leg snap that night knew that some extensive surgery would be required. We didn’t need doctors to tell us that.
Somebody posted a comment a while ago asking if I thought that the Raptors were punishing Garbo for playing in the Euros by sitting him on the bench. I said that I didn’t think they were punishing him, but more that he probably wasn’t where he should be (at least that’s what I remember saying, and I’m too lazy to check right now). I figure that the Raptors were trying to figure out what was going on with Garbo’s leg without risking it any more than they had to. Get a look at him on the floor, how he is moving and then do some further tests. It just seems to be a long time into the season to shut a guy down.
The honest truth is that by Garbo playing in the Euros, he made a completely selfish decision. He has to realize that he is an NBA player now. N-B-A. This is the bigs. This is where the best come to play. This is where you earn your living. Garbo surely would have been around for the next Euros, it’s not like he is going to lose speed as he ages. He will be 75 and still move as “quickly” as he does now. By choosing his country over his team, Garbo showed a selfish side that few people in Toronto thought he had.
It is well known that Colangelo is a supporter of his players playing for their countries, but this is a situation where he should have stepped up and said that under no circumstances was Garbo to play in that tournament. Sometimes you just can’t leave that decision up to a player. While there are more factors going into Steve Nash’s decision not to play for Canada at recent tournaments (hello Leo?), Nash also said that he needed to rest his body so he could be ready for the NBA season. This is a guy who didn’t even snap his leg. That’s a player who is hungry for an NBA championship. Now I have to wonder, Garbo may be hungry, but which plate does he want to eat from?