It was a pretty good week in the Bay Area, all things considered. Only three of the seven professional teams lost important players to injury, and only two of those were mega-important losses. Only two of the three remaining college basketball teams in the area got knocked out of the tournaments they were in. And one of them -- the otherwise draft-hungry Kings -- found a higher dignity in playing before an empty house.
Yeah, it was pretty good stuff indeed – if your comparison point is having your car repossessed.
Stephen Curry’s new role as the NBA’s MVIM (Most Valuable Injury Magnet) was enhanced yet again when JaVale McGee fell into him during an otherwise desultory win over the Atlanta Hawks Friday night. This was his fifth injury of the season to go with his four ankle injuries, and the second in which the instrument of his pain was one of his own centers. At this point, the only sane route for Warrior fans is to assume he will not even be available for the postseason, and to accept any appearances he does make as surprise rebates from the credit card company.
And yes, atop all their other injuries, this means you may not refer to them as unlucky any more than you bristled at them being called lucky in 2015 when every other team in the league lost significant players while they were healthy and fresh. Maybe now you’ll understand that being called lucky when your team wins is actually just a veiled compliment delivered by a disgruntled fan of some other team.
Besides, after three years of pure and unadulterated frontrunning, the role of the plucky underdog would do you all some good.
Elsewhere in hell, Madison Bumgarner broke his pinky finger trying to catch a line drive from Kansas City’s Whit Merrifield and will miss six to eight weeks, or just enough time for Jeff Samardzija to heal from a pectoral muscle problem that was diagnosed the day before. By then, the Giants could well be flash-fried in much the same way they were a year ago when Bumgarner lost in straight sets to a dirt bike and helped insure a 98-loss season.
In Oakland, starting pitchers Jharel Cotton is done after Tommy John surgery, and Paul Blackburn went down with what manager Bob Melvin feared was a similarly severe injury. In addition, highly worshiped prospect A.J. Puk is now injured as well with a biceps issue.
In the college game, the Stanford women got boatraced by top-seeded Louisville to exit the NCAA Tournament and the Stanford and St. Mary’s men were decoupled from the NIT, although USF is now in the CBI finals after beating the Campbell...
...wait for it...
Fighting Camels. Perfect.
The Dons now play their archrivals North Texas (work with me on this) in a best-of-three series starting Monday. A tournament victory would give the school its first anything since the 1956 NCAA title, and would put them on the same track as Loyola-Chicago, which won the 2015 CBI when Sister Jean was an ingénue at 95, and Nevada, which won in 2016 and reached the second weekend of the hallucinogenic 2018 NCAAs.
Everywhere else, normalcy abounds, if that’s what you want to call it. The Sharks are going to the playoffs as a gritty counterpuncher, the Raiders and 49ers are among the few teams who don’t need to draft a quarterback early, the Earthquakes just began their 35th season with Chris Wondolowski, and life goes on.
Sometimes, though, you get an NBA title, sometimes you get a World Series, and sometimes you get a CBI. Be an adult. Deal with it.