5-on-5: The 2nd half without Eric Bledsoe

The Suns are a game from the halfway point in the season and have already surpassed the win total many expected of them. But the 2013-14 season has taken a midseason twist. Eric Bledsoe’s injury clearly changes the plan as Phoenix continues to push for the postseason, but now that we’ve gotten a decent glimpse of what the team can be without him, the Valley of the Suns team tackles what the second half of the NBA season might hold for the Suns.

1. How would you describe the biggest issue the Suns face without Bledsoe?

Kevin Zimmerman: Consistency from the role players. While Bledsoe obviously was big in terms of scoring points and bailing out the Suns’ offense when it just wasn’t working, his absence also has makes it tougher on the Gerald Greens and Channing Fryes of the roster. It shouldn’t go without mention that the team defense has dropped off, too.

Michael Schwartz: Their lack of quality depth. Without Bledsoe, everybody moves up in the pecking order. Now Gerald Green is a starter instead of a spark plug off the bench and all of a sudden Ish Smith must play quality minutes. In addition, the Suns can no longer play a stud point guard at all times and a heavier burden gets put on Dragic. The Suns are hurt by the cumulative effect of these shifting roles.

Jeffrey Sanders: Finding someone to consistently score the basketball. Gerald Green and Channing Frye are both having fine seasons, but they are streak shooters who can also shoot the Suns out of games. Bledsoe, along with Goran Dragic, are the two guys the Suns could count on every night to get points from and without the former, they will have plenty of nights where they are struggling to score.

Ryan Weisert: Consistency. From game to game, the Suns without Bledsoe are forced to rely on less reliable players who aren’t going to have it every night. Within a game, Phoenix’s lack of depth makes it hard for them to keep their intensity up for all four quarters, and makes them susceptible to blowing leads.

Dave Dulberg: Secondary scoring. The Suns will get a big performance here and there from a Channing Frye or a Gerald Green or a Markieff Morris to compliment Goran Dragic, but on a night-to-night basis they struggle finding a third and fourth offensive option without Bledsoe. The aforementioned trio of players are secondary scorers, so when asked to fill Bledsoe’s void, the question becomes who fills their roles?

2. What’s one change you think would help the Suns win games without Bledsoe?

Zimmerman: Developing a bench unit that has more defined roles. Too much has been put on Goran Dragic, and the Suns will need an even deeper rotation to mix it up and keep opponents from zeroing in on the obvious — Dragic is the main ball handler, Channing Frye will shoot threes and Miles Plumlee will roll to the basket. And getting a few more fresh legs could help out the aggressiveness of Phoenix’s defense, which has dropped off at this point.

Schwartz: Perhaps shoot even more threes. Without Bledsoe, the Suns will often be less talented than their opposition, but three-point shots can be a great equalizer, especially the way the Suns shoot them.

Sanders: I don’t know if there are many changes that can be made at this point of the season. I would like the Suns to give Dionte Christmas more of a chance because of his strong shooting abilities. He can be used as a sparkplug, but other than that it comes down to players playing better and needing guys like the Morris brothers and P.J. Tucker to score a bit more than they have been.

Weisert: Committing more bodies to the glass. The Suns’ biggest weakness is their rebounding. They give up the fifth-most offensive boards in the NBA, and that has allowed lesser teams to beat them multiple times season. The Suns’ big men have to focus on crashing the glass instead of hanging out in no man’s land when the shot goes up.

Dulberg: It’s not so much a change as it an adjustment. The Suns need to pair Goran Dragic and Leandro Barbosa together as much as possible. Dragic becomes a much bigger threat offensively when not forced to be the primary ball handler every time down the court. Look no further than the difference between this season and last season. Like Bledsoe, Barbosa can distribute the basketball, but he can also create for himself off the dribble. They might not be mirror images of each other, but both have the ability to free Dragic up for better looks.

3. Who is the key player as Phoenix moves forward?

Zimmerman: Markieff Morris. When he’s on, Morris has clearly been able to outplay the majority of reserve forwards. When he’s off, the Suns are attempting to squeeze too many points out of their starting unit. He simply brings another element to a limited roster.

Schwartz: The man just signed to a second 10-day contract, Leandro Barbosa. As we saw in New York when he ripped off 14 fourth-quarter points, LB can emulate some of what Bledsoe brought offensively (minus the elite athleticism), and going back to 2010 he’s always paired well with Dragic. He’s not nearly the all-around player Bledsoe is, but when he gets hot he can keep the offense humming.

Sanders: The easy thing to say is Goran Dragic, but that is the obvious answer. I am going to go with the Morris brothers. When Markieff Morris has a night like he had last week against Los Angeles, it changes the complexion of what the Suns can do. Especially with Green in the starting line-up, the team needs someone to step up off the bench and be a scorer. This is a great chance for one or both of the twins to get going.

Weisert: Miles Plumlee. Plumlee has blown everyone away with his play this season. But he still has plenty of room for improvement. His offensive aggression has been better lately, but he still has to do a better job of putting the ball in the basket. Defensively, he must do a better job not getting pushed around by stronger veterans.

Dulberg: Miles Plumlee. While Barbosa can fill some of the void left from Bledsoe’s absence, Phoenix would be well-served to try and get a little bit more paint production out of its second-year center. Plumlee is averaging less than eight shots per game in the month of January, which isn’t far off from his season average, but without Bledsoe, he needs to be one of the focal points and not a guy who just gets his buckets on offense rebounds and alley oops. That may be asking a lot of the former Duke standout, but the Suns need more balance. Shooting threes and executing in fast break situations won’t carry the Suns to the postseason.

4. What’s the current trajectory of this team, if you had to guess?

Zimmerman: Even with the developments in the last few days of the Suns being well-coached enough to put up points, they won’t be able to keep it up come the stretch run of the season, when the playoff atmosphere is already in place as Western Conference squads battle for positioning. Bledsoe could return, but if it’s anything around two months from his injury, it could be too little too late. Still, the Suns could be sniffing 40 wins.

Schwartz:The West is so much better than the East that it seems the Suns will either grab one of the last playoff spots in the West or one of the final couple lottery spots. Dreams of a top lottery pick are over. It will be difficult to stave off teams like Memphis, Denver and Minnesota for a final playoff spot, but just being in that conversation puts the Suns’ rebuilding process further along than anybody expected to start the year.

Sanders: I still believe they will be a playoff team IF Bledsoe comes back in the beginning of March as some suspect. If he is gone any longer than this, the team will be back in NBA purgatory. Keep in mind the Suns have a road-heavy schedule to end the year, playing 14 of their final 21 away from U.S. Airways Center, including four road back-to-backs. So any playoff hopes will be dependent on Bledsoe coming back for the stretch run.

Weisert: Until Bledsoe returns to full health and explosiveness, the Suns are going to be a .500 team. They have the shooting and the speed to overwhelm bad teams as evidenced by the Lakers’ game last week. But without Bled, they don’t have that extra gear that can help them race past the real contenders in the stacked West.

Dulberg: Without Bledsoe, the Suns are an average to slightly above average team. Better put, they’re a No. 9 or No. 10 squad in the Western Conference. If he fails to return, that’s exactly where they will finish. Give or take a few games, Phoenix is staring at 40-43 wins. Jeff Hornacek’s squad will be competitive on most nights, but it’s hard to replace an 18-point per game guy, who also happens to be a very good on-ball defender.

5. Do you think the injury changes how the Suns should deal with Bledsoe’s free agency?

Zimmerman: With the Suns’ magical medical staff, I’ll put my faith in them to know what’s up with Bledsoe’s knee. But I think that needs to be a serious question-mark regarding his future now that he’s had that injury twice — and that he had the meniscus removed and not repaired. It is no more concerning but additional to Bledsoe’s other issue: Can he point guard a team by himself?

Schwartz: No, assuming there are no further complications. Perhaps this shaves a few shekels off Bledsoe’s final price, but if anything this stretch without him shows how critical a healthy Bledsoe is to the Suns’ future. He’s still going to require a sizable investment to sign him, and he’s still worth every penny. Unless the Suns find something chronic about Bledsoe’s knees, he needs to be signed for whatever it takes as a building block of this franchise.

Sanders: Bledsoe is on his way to becoming a marquee NBA player and he is going to be making big money this offseason. Just look at Eric Gordon last year; he had big injury questions and that didn’t stop the Suns from offering him a contract before (thankfully) the Hornets matched it. Bledsoe will be getting paid and this shouldn’t have too if any impact on that.

Weisert: No. Meniscus injuries can certainly shorten a player’s career, but Bledsoe is still very young. So while his knee may limit him later in his career, I can’t see him being hobbled by it in this next contract with the Suns. Phoenix will and should do whatever it takes to retain Bledsoe’s service for the next four to five years.

Dulberg: Not in the slightest. While a first-year starter going down with a major injury is never encouraging news, Bledsoe has shown more than enough during his 24 appearances to warrant big money. If the Suns previously thought he was worthy of a hefty contract, even one that includes max money, this injury shouldn’t deter them from inking the 24-year-old to a new deal this summer.


    Suns need to pick up that go to guy to be serious about a run. I think Young from the 76ers would fit that role.Frye and Tucker need to come off the bench. Frye is horrible on D. jUST WATCHING FROM COURT SIDE AS PLAYERS DROVE PAST HIM AS HE WATCHED. TUCKER I CRINGE WHEN HE DRIBBLES OR ACTS OFFENSIVELY. Start Barbosa and Dragic at guard, Green at the 3, Young at the 4, and give our only D guy Plumlee more minutes. Bring Frye, Tucker, Ish and Len off the Bench

  • BCrayZ

    Mike Prada is good.

    Read what he says about Frye & Gogi.

    Says that they are among the best & most valuable in the game. Both Frye & Gogi will be even better with our Brazilian Blur playing with Gogi. Here is that link:http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/1/15/5267058/goran-dragic-amir-johnson-kyle-korver-nba-all-star

    MUST start & also finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • EBJM

    So Prada is good because like you, he is infatuated with Frye?

    Frye only plays 28 minutes per game. Old man Tim Duncan plays 29 and grabs almost twice as many boards and is still a defensive stud.

    My God, old man Kevin Garnett is only playing 22 minutes per game and grabs 7 per and is DPOY compared to Frye.

    The aforementioned Thaddeus Young is a nice player but he is a half an inch shy of standing 6′-8″. He is only grabbing 6 boards per game.

    Without Bledsoe the Suns are not making a serious run in the playoffs. But his decision to have a
    meniscectomy raises concerns about his vitality as an NBA player.

    From a medical journal written by medical doctors:

    “Removing the whole meniscus generally reduces some symptoms. But losing the meniscus reduces the cushioning and stability of the joint. Most people, especially if they are young or active, are not satisfied with a total meniscectomy. This is why surgeons try to remove as little of the meniscus as possible.”

    “There is a direct relationship between the amount of meniscus tissue that is surgically removed and the load distribution across the knee. If more tissue is removed, the knee is less able to sustain the load of walking, running, or other activities. With uneven load distribution, degeneration of the knee joint may happen at a faster pace than it would with an intact meniscus.”

    “Surgical repair is generally favored over a partial or total meniscectomy. If the meniscus can be repaired successfully, it reduces the risk of knee joint degeneration that may occur with removal of all or part of the meniscus.”

    “One study reports that the development of arthritis in the knee after meniscectomy may be influenced by heredity and environmental factors. This finding is significant, because surgical removal of meniscal tissue has been considered the cause of osteoarthritis in the knee. If this study’s findings are correct, surgery may be a factor, but not the only factor, in eventual osteoarthritis in knees.”

    Then you have Dwayne Wade’s testimony to why he wished he did NOT have a meniscectomy and his record of games missed to support his feelings.

    After seeing a little of 20 year-old Alex Len, and the potential of 19 year-old Archie Goodwin, I’d rather the Suns seriously re-think building around Bledsoe, especially if the Suns are still relying on Frye and Tucker as starters.

    Even the Bulls have decided to throw in the towel on the Derrick Rose era.

    The 76ers quickly abandoned the core of their young team after the Andrew Bynum experiment failed.

    Both of those teams were considered contenders until knee injuries to Bynum and Rose derailed them. Rose suffered a meniscus tear in his right knee after recovering from a a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

    Both Rose and Russell Westbrook had their torn meniscus repaired, not removed.

    I look forward to the day the Suns finally unload Frye and find a real PF. Maybe they could manage sign and trades with the Pistons with Bledsoe and Monroe?

    Suns have history with a PG who played just as recklessly as Bledsoe, Kevin Johnson. Two hernias, one that went undetected for four years sent K.J. into early retirement at age 31.

  • sunsn7

    Who is “Gogi”?? Dragic?

    Hey excellent post EBJM. Im not sold on rebuilding around Bledsoe either. His knee issues can be potentially lingering and career altering. Len and Goodwin should be getting consistent minutes and Hornacek needs to groom the young guys for the future. Just making the playoffs would not be considered a successful season when one takes into consideration how negatively that can affect the Suns’ rebuilding efforts.

  • sunsn7

    Oh and @Schwartz?

    Couldnt disagree with you more on point #4. Suns fighting for a final playoff spot does not put the Suns’ rebuilding effort “farther along”

    Why, just because they have exceeded very low expectations? Sorry Im not buying what you’re selling.

  • Dave:f32

    LB will be signed for rest of season, if not to a 2-3 yr deal per Paul Coro recent report!!! The Brazilian Wax is back! Waxing that @ss all over the court! Beep beep!

    Welcome back to Leandro “The Brazilian Blurrr” Barbosa #10

  • CART jeff

    That is why analytics are important. A lot of variables to consider. Yes, after the menisectomy Bledsoe’s knee is less stable, but who is to say that a healthy Kevin Loves’ knee is more stable. There is a possibility that a player might have an inherent instability at the knee based on their physique. Dragic could be such a player, he has rolled his ankle a few times, definitely has laxity in his anterior talofibular ligament. With certain measures, predictive modles might suggest Dragic having more of a problem with the health of his knees moving forward, than Bledsoe. A partial meniscectomy is just too little information to go by.

  • EBJM

    Granted, nobody knows for sure how much a player will recover from knee surgery. My opinion is based off of what we know and the history of how other players have fared. The only point of this FRIENDLY discussion is the Suns success with a healthy Bledsoe and the fact the Suns have been given a 2nd chance to reconsider signing Bledsoe to a max or possibly near-max contract.

    From Paul Coro:

    “It was his second surgery in 27 months to address a meniscus tear in his right knee, which had been repaired in October 2011 and sidelined him for almost four months. Bledsoe is expected to return this season, perhaps sometime after the mid-February All-Star break, and that speedier timetable means that a piece of the same meniscus was removed rather than a repeat repair that would sideline him for months.”

    From what I’ve read about meniscus tears, when you get to the point of removing pieces of the meniscus it is because you cannot adequately repair it OR because you want to reduce the recovery time. A big red flag should go up at this point.

    Did Bledsoe choose a meniscectomy so he could return to the court sooner and thereby ensuring the best possible contract offer? The surgery turned into a partial meniscectomy after they went in and seen they could leave part of it on.

    Again, Suns have history to rely on. Remember when Amare opted for an ELECTIVE microfracture surgery right AFTER he signed his max contract?

    What was the main reason Sarver didn’t want to re-sign Amare to another max contract? Too many surgeries on his knees.

    The most telling opinion to me is that of Dwayne Wade. He points out that medical technology has come a long way since he had a meniscectomy back while he was at Marquette in 2002.

    “My knee problems and the things I’ve dealt with started from that,” Wade said. “That was [11] years ago, and technology was different, and the way you approach things was different. At the moment, if everyone looked ahead and said, ‘Dwyane’s going to have a 20-year career, maybe we should so something different,’ maybe I wouldn’t have [these knee problems]. At that time it was to get me back on the basketball court and do what was best.”

    Dragic will only be 28 by seasons end. Alex Len is looking like a player in a very short time. I’m surprised at how well he has done. Gerald Green is doing great as a starter, despite his flaws.

    Ish Smith has elevated his game from 3rd string to back-up PG. Suns look like they will end up with all four 1st rd picks this summer. This draft is loaded with wings.

    If McMiracle could swap Bledsoe for Monroe, I’b be tempted to let the Pistons worry about his knee.

    Suns could be just as good or better next season and be a lot bigger.

    Glenn Robinson III


    The Morri

    Maybe Gary Harris or whomever.

    Lance Stephenson will be a free agent, maybe…

    Just pure conjecture and speculation.

    Btw, Coro reported the Suns paid Okafor a visit while they were in New York. Nobody knows what was said exactly but Coro reported after that meeting that the Suns insurance will pay for $5.8 million of Okafor’s contract if he doesn’t play the remainder of the season.

    Doesn’t sound like Okafor will ever take the court as a Sun.

  • DZ

    As much as I like Barbosa, I think signing him to more than a 1 year contract would be a mistake.

    As for Bledsoe, I’m in “wait and see” mode. He could come back at 100% of his old self… or maybe not. That will be fairly obvious to everyone once he’s back on the court. The worst possible scenario would be for him to miss the rest of the season which would leave everyone guessing at his level of recovery and how much his next contract should be worth.

    And the fact that the Suns might be “fighting for a final playoff spot” does not “put the Suns’ rebuilding effort “farther along” but it does mean that it IS farther along than anyone expected. The Suns already have a good, young, athletic core to build upon without having to wait 1-3 years to get it through the draft.

    McD has done a great job of doing a quick rebuild. Phoenix is back to being a pretty attractive FA destination again. If they don’t make the playoffs this season I won’t be too disappointed because I was already looking forward to next season before this one started. Every win this season is just gravy to me. I’m loving it and loving the Suns.

  • Dave:f32

    I realize that Eric Bledsoe is a benefactor of the hype machine known as the media.

    Without ever having proved he could play a full season as a starter, he was hyped up as the future of the Suns having merely showing glimpses thru brief sub stints with the Clips.

    Now, hes being hyped as a legend as an injured player with his less-than-half-a-season stint with the Suns. Keep in mind that the less than FULL HALF SEASON , he sat out of some games.

    He just got a procedure done that hasnt faired well for other players who played longer, in more games.

    So im trying to understand the justification for pushing the agenda to sign him to a long-term deal with the Suns when he has yet to even come back and play half a game. It seems to me that the Suns do things backwards, maybe?

    Btw i noticed all those empty seats in the homestands. If you want to one day fill em again, you better start making some smart choices in continuing to construct this team.

    Bottomline, is that even with EB this team was/is mediocre and wasnt winning any championships with him healthy. There were games where he showed questionable uninspired play. At times, he wouldnt be aggressive or make good decisions. Lack of energy or motivation or enthusiasm. Heck, he wasnt even guaranteed to take the Suns deal in the summer, when he was healthy. Now, he will take whatever he can get but he still has yet to prove himself a legend, much less a star who can run the PG fulltime!

  • Doc

    All this talk of Bledsoe ‘deciding’ to have his meniscus debrided instead of repaired. We don’t just do what the patient wants, they participate in the discussion but ultimately when the meniscus is right in front of your camera, AND has already been repaired previously (and failed), the decision is easy, you have to resect it. If it didn’t heal the first time, it is not going to heal the second time…there are plenty of guys in the league with meniscus tears and bad, arthritic knees but they continue to play at a high level.

  • Dave:f32

    @Doc -

    Name some.

    Those ones that dont miss considerable time during the season, and play at a high level?

  • foreveris2long

    Interesting Bledsoe opinions. Maybe there is a doctor on board who can add some insight but it seems none of the opinions above discussed the frequency of a repeated tears after arthroscopic surgery. It is my understanding according to one study those occur in about 25% of the arthroscopic repairs. The concern about removal of part of the meniscus is very real but it depends how much of the meniscus is removed. I do not think any of us know how large or small a piece of his meniscus was removed.

    If the amount removed was very small I personally will not be that concerned and would definitely want to sign him to a new contract. On the other hand if more than 50% of the meniscus was removed I would be more concerned.

    Interesting issue.

  • Dave:f32

    @Foreveris2long -

    Eric Bledsoe’s meniscus in his knee was fully removed, which expedites his return for this season

  • Dave:f32

    I will name them, Doc ;)

    Derrick Rose
    Gilbert Arenas
    Brandon Roy
    Chris Paul
    Andrew Bynum
    Eric Bledsoe (2nd trip)
    Jeremy Lin
    Blake Griffin
    Chase Budinger
    Metta World Peace
    Russell Westbrook
    J.R. Smith
    Dwayne Wade
    Udonis Haslem
    Al Harrington
    Grant Hill
    ( the injury that forced him to retire earlier than he wanted)
    Tyrus Thomas
    Leon Powe
    Jordan Farmar
    Derrick Caracter
    Iman Shumpert
    Matt Barnes
    To name a few…
    And i think we can all agree that EB is no Chris Paul.


  • Dave:f32
  • foreveris2long

    Dave32, you may wish to verify but the reports I have seen including ones by Coro and NBC say it was only partially removed. Please provide a source that says the meniscus was completely removed.

  • foreveris2long

    Dave 32, the following was written by Coro on January 11, 2014,

    “It was his second surgery in 27 months to address a meniscus tear in his right knee, which had been repaired in October 2011 and sidelined him for almost four months. Bledsoe is expected to return this season, perhaps sometime after the mid-February All-Star break, and that speedier timetable means that a piece of the same meniscus was removed rather than a repeat repair that would sideline him for months.”

  • Dave:f32
  • Bandwagon Fan

    @ Dave:f32, I believe that article says that it was partially removed, not fully removed.

    “and that speedier timetable means that a piece of the same meniscus was removed rather than a repeat repair that would sideline him for months.”

    Foreveris2long has it right.

  • Bandwagon Fan

    As for Okafor, the Suns were in the city where he is rehabilitating but actually did not visit with him, per Coro.

  • Dave:f32

    I think the bigger question is this:

    Would you spend $55,000,000 on a player
    1. who has already suffered 2 injuries on the same right knee
    2. the same type of injury
    3. by the age of 25
    4. who has not played a full season as a starter
    5. who still has yet to prove he can run the PG position without depending on Dragic
    6. An injury that has claimed alot of promising young players careers
    7. And build a team around him, when he could quite possibly be out of the league in 3 years
    8. Who already turned down initial offers to sign him
    9. That has shown tendencies to coast, not play with motivation, enthusiasm, or energy at times
    10. Has a questionable jumper

  • Dave:f32

    11. For the chance that he might turn out to be a star

    $55,000,000. Thats millions! That could be used towards other established, healthy stars…

  • Dave:f32

    @Bandwagon Fan –

    Uhh, no. I did have it right. You read it wrong. The partially torn meniscus from the previous tear was fully removed, and not repaired because it was too far damaged to repair. Just read the article!

  • Bandwagon Fan

    Dave, explain why it says “a piece of the same meniscus” (not all) as I quoted from the article as did Foreveris2long.

  • Bandwagon Fan

    Dave, can you point me to the part that says it was fully removed? I may have missed it.

  • Bandwagon Fan
  • Kevin Zimmerman

    Meniscus is pretty important, so they only remove the damaged part if they remove it at all. Anyhow, Dwyane Wade has been one guy who this year openly admitted his meniscus being removed hurt him in the longterm … and that removal was in his college days. So in terms of it causing chronic pain later on, that’s probably not until a ways down the road.

  • Scott

    I would not be surprised if McD makes a few moves that are virtually unpredictable to set the Suns up for a playoff run.

    Like say … (trying to be unpredictable here) … trading Kravtsov to the Nets for Teletovic.

  • foreveris2long

    Bandwagon and Zimm thanks for your objective viewpoints. I read one orthopedic study that supports your thoughts Zimm that if there are problems after the meniscus is removed it is 12 to 15 years later.

  • Serek

    Hey “Greg Monroe to Phoenix” fans – I hear the Wizards are interested in picking him from Detroit.

  • http://none Go Phx

    People crack me up. So, Suns7, finishing 9th helps rebuilding more than finishing 8th? Don’t think so!

  • EBJM

    Nice catch Bandwagon Fan. The fact that the Suns did not meet with Okafor while in his home state of New York in conjunction with Coro reporting that insurance would cover $5.8 million of his salary sort of implies Okafor will never suit up as a Sun.

    The Wizards are interested in obtaining Monroe but I seriously doubt they would give up the necessary assets that Joe Dumars would more than likely covet, Bradley Beal or Otto Porter Jr.

    As far as Bledsoe’s having a partial meniscectomy instead of meniscectomy, the way I read it was they planned on meniscectomy but after going into the knee discovered they could save part of the meniscus.

    Replying to “Doc”; “We don’t just do what the patient wants”, Wow, seriously? The decision to have surgery is always the patients decision unless they end up in the emergency room unconscious.

    Again, I’m posting this is a FRIENDLY open to discussion manner, but we are talking about a World-Class professional athlete, not some weekend warrior who plays in pick-up games with friends.

    Bledsoe’s meniscus did heal after his surgery in ’11. It simply wasn’t as strong as it was before he tore it. So after getting significant burn with the Suns he tore it again. Why did it tear again besides not being as strong? Because Bledsoe is a phenomenal athlete and the meniscus was under extreme stress because it was doing what it was intended to do, stabilize his knee.

    The meniscus is cartilage that keeps your thighbone from rubbing directly against your shinbone. If Bledsoe has put his knee under so much duress to have torn the meniscus twice in two years and he is only 24, well………

    I have the perfect example of the worst-case scenario for Bledsoe, Brandon Roy. Roy lost his first meniscus in High School, his second in college. The remainder in the NBA. At age 26, Roy’s menisci were gone.

    Today he has the beginnings of osteoarthritis.

    Each knee has two meniscus. Like a left and right shock absorber. Trimming away one only destabilizes your knee. Imagine driving your car with one bad strut down a rough road.

    “Without them, your body is like that old beater, where every pothole shakes; not only that, it hurts.”

    Some of you missed the point of referring to Dwayne Wade. Wade has missed 17% of possible games over the course of his career and Wade himself has attributed that to having his meniscus removed.

    Just something to think about, Lance Stephenson is only 23 and has become quite the player for the Pacers. He is 6′-5″ and 210# and is a great defensive player and a combo guard. His numbers on a deep Pacer squad: 14 pts/7 boards/5 dimes.

    He leads the league in triple-doubles with three.

    He will be a free-agent this summer. The Pacers do not have any cap space next season so re-signing Stephenson will put them close to the luxury tax.

    Suns could force the Pacers to offer Stephenson a max five year contract under their “Bird -Rights” with a substantial four-year offer or risk losing him.

    The Stephenson/Hill backcourt is almost as dynamic as Dragic/Bledsoe. Stephenson would be a bigger and healthier Bledsoe.

    Stephenson is shooting 35% from three-point. 55% from two-point and 71% FT.

    Just thinking out-loud.

  • Dave:f32

    @EBJM, i agree lets get Lance Stevenson on our team. The guy is a stud baller. I would say it will be eazyier said than dun if he makes the all-star roster, which is more than likely. I doubt we could pry an integral young piece of the Pacers puzzle to help the Suns cause but its def. worth a try!

    Im done about the EB issue after this post. I dont put money on it that the Suns will do whats right for the franchise, but i stay hopeful! ;)

    This article from:

    Phoenix Suns’ guard, Eric Bledsoe rolled the dice and took the ultimate gamble with his right knee injury. Bledsoe tore his meniscus, but opted to have it removed, rather than repaired.

    The difference between removing the meniscus and simply repairing is big. Bledsoe would have likely missed the remainder of the 2013-14 NBA season, had he opted to get his knee repaired. By removing the meniscus, instead, the recovery timetable is closer to 4-6 weeks. But, the big difference is the way it could shorten Bledsoe’s career.

    Dwyane wade had his meniscus removed back in 2002, a move he now regrets. It didn’t affect him right away, but it has ultimately appeared to shorten the longevity of his once outstanding career. You could have argued that by 2007 or so, Wade was the league’s second or third best player. The toll taken from the removed meniscus has really come to light in the past few seasons, as D-Wade looks less like Flash, and more like a 35-year old vet, who has moments that remind us of what was once a great NBA talent. Not to say Wade isn’t great anymore, but he’s certainly not the Wade of old.

    Bledsoe will be back to help the Suns this season, but at what cost? The explosive combo-guard has a lot of similar qualities to Wade, in terms of speed and athletic ability. Hopefully this speedy route isn’t one he regrets down the road.

    Note that Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose both opted to have their meniscus repaired, versus having it removed.


  • Dave:f32

    John Gambadoro @Gambo987
    Bledsoe will return this season because his meniscus was removed not repaired. So 4-6 week to return.
    1:00 PM – 10 Jan 2014
    22 RETWEETS 15 FAVORITES ReplyRetweetFavorite

  • Dave:f32

    @Bandwagon Fan –

    Yup! I was right. Nothing new! Lol

  • EBJM

    Dave:f32, that was one of my focal points in this discussion, the fact that he opted to have it removed so he could return in time for a big payday.

    As far as Stephenson, the Pacers are in the same boat as the Thunder were with James Harden. They simply cannot afford to go into the luxury tax and the new CBA makes it even more prohibitive.

    IF McMiracle is thinking like us in regards to Bledsoe’s knee down the road, I’d much rather he offer Stephenson the money that the Pacers most likely cannot match.

    I read an article somewhere were they were using 2nd rd picks like Dragic as a comparison on what Stephenson could demand. Dragic got 4 years and $34 million. We know they planned on offering Bledsoe more than that.

    If Stephenson makes the All-Star game, that only increases his value and that plays into the Suns chances to sign him away because they have the cap space.

    Oddly enough, if that did happen, the Pacers were interested in trading for Bledsoe before the Suns got him. They could replace Stephenson with Bledsoe who might take less to go play for a contender.

    Another Pacer player could fill a Suns need, Danny Granger who also will be a free-agent this summer. I know many don’t like him but he might be inexpensive because of his knee injury and his flaws as a player.

    If Len can continue to progress the remainder of the season, Suns could still look very good for next season if they were able to pull it off.

    I just get this feeling Bledsoe is heading down the same path as Derrick Rose injury-wise. It seems the basketball Gods were looking out for Phoenix when they chose not to extend Bledsoe.

  • Dave:f32

    @EBJM -

    You got it my man! I emphatically agree. That would be awesome to land Stevenson and trade (he)Bledsoe but Granger is ok. Not too defensive minded but potent offensive game. Id prefer LMA from Porty but thats probably a no go. Btw speaking of Porty, Dame Lillard is the 2nd coming of Derrick Rose, but with a less shifty game and better perimeter shooter maybe? He reminds me alot of DR when i see him play!

  • Doc

    Regarding meniscus tears in general, we stopped taking the entire meniscus out in the ’80s, I would never, nor would any orthopaedic surgeon who understands standard of care, remove an entire meniscus. The issue is that sometimes, depending on the direction of the tear, you need to debride a significant amount in a radial direction, which decreases the amount of hoop-strength the meniscus has thereafter. Overall, decreasing a meniscus’ hoop- strength causes less congruent articulation with the femoral condyle and can lead to increased wear on the chondral cartilage, some believe this would lead to earlier arthritis.

    What you need to understand is that medicine, including orthopaedic surgery, is not black or white, we have imperfect studies that give guidance as to appropriate treatment, but every case is different, just as every patient is different. Some patients may have a large flap of meniscus debrided and never develop arthritis, some may develop very quickly and unfortunately we are generally poor a predicting these sorts of things.