The Memphis Commerical Appeal’s Ronald Tillery weighes in on one of the NBA’s more fragile types, the Grizzlis’ Stomile Swift.
In trying to figure out which was more embarrassing — Swift (above) missing his 13th game last Sunday because of a moderately sprained left ankle or sitting in a uniform not prepared to play — one had to wonder what really is on the fifth-year forward’s mind.
Pau Gasol rushed back from a stress reaction in his left foot.
Shane Battier played two games with a 101-degree temperature that should have rendered him bedridden.
Jason Williams rolled his ankle and performed after two games.
Earl Watson has a busted left hand, a tender shoulder and would have missing teeth if not for cosmetic surgery. Yet the 6-1 reserve guard is, yep, playing.
So where is Stromile Swift?
He’s back, all right.
He’s back to being the butt of a joke heard during the Grizzlies’ inaugural season in Memphis.
Whenever the team bus hit a bump in the road and players were slightly discharged from their seats, a teammate would sarcastically check on Swift.
The remarks would go something like this: Somebody check on Stro. He may have separated his shoulder.
Right now it appears Swift’s view on his future is separated from reality.
Sure, he played well when Gasol first went down because of an injury. Sure, Swift can jump to Pluto if he wants, and he operates as the team’s only legitimate shot-blocker.
But those credits he earned with fine performances before the Feb. 16 ankle injury at Boston have been spent on unexcused time off.
Swift has been cleared by doctors to play for more than two weeks.
This is a guy fighting for a contract beyond this season, and he has shown no recuperative powers and little professional pride. For a team battling for a playoff berth, the Grizzlies are right to plan on excelling without Swift.