Breathe GOSH DARN IT (Updated)
UPDATED: Ok. After going through most of the day kind of dumbfounded and reading little tidbits about Tyler’s injury and how it affects the team, I snapped myself out of it and feel like I have to speak out about something. This team is talented enough to overcome however long Tyler needs to be out. Granted, in the last 3 seasons, they haven’t had to play without him. They’ve played with a not 100% Tyler when he had a stomach virus, when his nose was broken, and when he had a toenail issue, but they haven’t played without him.
But let’s remember that this was the team that people thought couldn’t make it last season when PG Ty Lawson got hurt, and that turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to the team because it made them stronger and mentally tough enough to not give up when the chips were down. It’s the reason that in that final four game last season, they weren’t completely out of it after scoring only 12 points. This team is strong and only grew stronger over the summer with the addition of the freshman class.
I’ve read that this team can’t win a championship without Tyler Hansbrough. Well if all they needed to win a title was to have Tyler on the team, the Tar Heels would be going into the season attempting to defend their 3rd straight championship. Last time I checked the winners of the last 3 titles, while Tyler has been in college, have not been North Carolina and none of those teams had Tyler Hansbrough on them. So, to think that in order to win a championship we have to have Tyler is bogus since that hasn’t been the case the last 3 years. Does he do his part and then some? Absolutely. Carolina doesn’t get to it’s second straight ACC tournament championship game without his shot against VA Tech, but Carolina also doesn’t win an overtime game against Clemson during the regular season without Wayne Ellington’s three pointer with one second left.
Every player on that team has a role. Every player on that team is talented. For crying out loud, there are enough McDonald’s All-Americans on the team to staff an actual McDonald’s for the lunch rush. Every player on that team can hang with every program in D-I. There are even bench players who would be starting at a number of D-I schools, but they choose to wear the Blue and be part of a tradition that is incredibly special.
So please…RELAX. North Carolina will be fine. Let Tyler heal without the pressure of “what are we gonna do without him” hanging over his head because the last thing we DO need is for him to come back before he should. This team will be fine. This experience will only strengthen them just like every other experience in the last three years has.
This morning as I was driving to work ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter announced that Tyler Hansbrough is sitting out practice indefinitely with a stress reaction to his right shin. It took everything I had not to scream when I heard that. I was comfort breathing all the way to work trying to fight back tears, avoid hyperventilating, and starting to feel my blood pressure rise.
Finally I was at a point where I could read the report on my Blackberry. I’m slightly comforted by the quotes from his father who is an orthopedic surgeon and that this appears to be the last warning sign before a stress fracture. I’d prefer it to be this than an actual fracture, but I’m concerned about whether after the mandatory rest if it will continue to bother him throughout the season. Tyler takes such good care of his body that hopefully it will help him heal faster.
But, I guess being the overachiever that he is, spending hours on end in the weight room and the gym, turns out to be detrimental to his body.
Hey…if you want to be the one to walk up to Tyler Hansbrough and tell him he needs to take it easy and that perhaps he doesn’t have to give everything he has on every play and in every practice…you do that. Let me know how it turns out. I wouldn’t have wanted to be the doctor who reviewed his MRI with him yesterday is all I can say. But now is actually the time that he needs to listen to that doctor and Jonas (the UNC strength and conditioning coach).
By the way, that sound you hear is a collective sigh of relief from all the coaches in the ACC.