PHOENIX — When Marcin Gortat fractured his nose in a collision with Steve Nash during Friday’s loss to the Hornets it may have been the final blow to the Suns’ season, but at least it didn’t knock out his sense of humor.
Gortat recovered quickly, showing no ill effects in going for 20 points and 15 boards Sunday against the Mavericks while wearing tape over his nose rather than a mask. He said the tape started to come off during the fourth quarter but other than that he didn’t even notice the hindrance after the first couple baskets.
“I don’t think there was any problem,” Gortat said. “I can play with tape every night if I’m going to bring points and rebounds then I can play with tape and all different things on my face.”
Gortat had some fun with his injury by posting a series of self-deprecating tweets, the best of which are pasted below:
I know my modeling job is over now!!!!!! so i can focus 100% on basketball!!!!! I had that nice deal with GUCCI and now ….:((((((
stevo stevo stevo!!!!!! I still love that guy! made me look good today ! (in many different ways) points ,rebounds,broken nose! buahahah
one day my kid will ask me! who broke ur nose daddy??? what will i say?? a guy 5.6 tall with 150 pounds.Im gonna look like fool!!! buahhaha
Gortat also made a video with Nash for his web site, in which Two Time jokes that he’s going to put Gortat’s nose up on his fireplace in commemoration of nabbing the biggest deer (nose) in Eastern Europe.
It’s nice to see Gortat take such a tough break (literally) and spin it lightly. This is the kind of camaraderie-building thing last year’s Suns would have done when they seemed to make a video every road trip. Can you even remember the last time Nash made a video with his teammates?
After Sunday’s game Gortat continued to poke some fun at his unusually large nose by saying, “I’m fine, I heard my nose is straight, it’s beautiful, so I look good again. Maybe modeling gig is not over yet, so I’m going to try to just take care of that now so I don’t have problems later.”
Most importantly Gortat has combined that levity with some toughness in returning the next game with the Suns’ playoff hopes on the line (theoretically). Gortat played a very productive and game-high 41 minutes even if he didn’t exactly stick his nose in any scrums.
“I was obviously praying and hoping nobody was going to hit me because I’d be probably out for the season,” he said. “I was kind of trying to stay away from really big crashing, I didn’t want to get into the contact like the crazy contact, but after the first two, three made baskets I was fine.”
Gortat’s father, Janusz, is a former boxer who won a pair of Olympic bronze medals, so facial injuries are nothing new to this family. Marcin said he can’t remember his father ever breaking his nose although he did bust up his chin a few times in the ring.
The former boxer shared some advice with his son that Marcin has certainly heeded.
“He told me, ‘Just be a man, take it like a man and just keep playing. This is nothing,’” Gortat said. “It’s all right, this is just part of the job. Hopefully first and last time. It’s better than my knee or back where I’d be out a couple months.”
It’s also much easier to have a sense of humor about a facial injury in that the only long-term damage it might do is to Gortat’s modeling career.
Bender to retire after season
Hall of Fame broadcaster Gary Bender plans to retire from broadcasting at the conclusion of the Suns’ 2010-11 season, according to a Suns release. Bender has called Suns home games for 18 years, broadcasting more than 700 Phoenix games in that time.
Bender has called a slew of major moments in sports throughout his five-decade career, including the 1982 and 1983 Final Fours, and he’s served as the voice of the University of Kansas, the Green Bay Packers, the Chicago Bears, the St. Louis Rams, and the Phoenix Cardinals as well.
“Gary defines the word ‘professional’ in the broadcasting industry,” Suns President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Welts said in a release. “His class, talent and character have combined to give Suns fans 18 years of great memories and unforgettable moments lived through his words. He is part of our family, and the team and all Suns fans say ‘thank you’ for a job incredibly well done.”
Upon his retirement from broadcasting, Bender plans on becoming a consultant to the Kansas University Alumni Association and the school’s Endowment Association.