by Troy Sparks
Carlos Delfino felt dizzy in a Nov. 6 game against New Orleans and left the court. Little did anyone know at that time that the Milwaukee Bucks starting small forward wouldn’t see the light of day for quite a while.
Eventually, it led to Delfino having concussion symptoms. It would keep him out of action for 2 ½ months. The Bucks missed him during the 32 games that he was sidelined.
Delfino’s symptoms were similar to anyone who experienced concussions in the past: headaches, fatigue and/or nausea.
And during the time that Delfino was sidelined, there was nothing that he could do but lie on his back and think about last season, the playoffs and his role on last summer’s Argentina national team in the FIBA World Basketball Championships.
“To tell you the truth,” he said recently, “I was so down after I had the concussion. I was just lying in the bed in a dark room.”
It was truly a miracle that Delfino recovered in time to help the Bucks make a push for another playoff run. Since his return to the starting lineup, he played over 20 minutes in a game. In recent games against New York and Sacramento, Delfino played over 40 minutes and scored a career high of 30 points in both games.
His shooting from beyond the arc earned him the nickname of Del-3-no. Delfino would easily rank in the top 10 in three-point baskets made if he had played in enough games to qualify.
Delfino went through tests and treatment for his symptoms. It was an adjustment for him to react to bright lights. And after that, Delfino worked himself back into shape. But being able to see the day that he would play again was a miracle.
“That was a blessing,” he said. “It started from not having any (doubts) and waiting to play again this season and how long it was gonna be. I was trying to get back and get on the basketball court.”
The Bucks value Delfino’s shooting touch, as he is one of the go-to guys on the floor. Nobody expected him to log heavy minutes either. In the March 23 home game against the Kings, Delfino played 47 of a possible 48 minutes in regulation. However, he wasn’t the only player on the team who suffered a concussion.
Forward Ersan Ilyasova is currently sidelined with effects from a concussion. He hasn’t been in uniform for more than a dozen games. In a Feb. 14 home game against the L.A. Clippers, Ilyasova caught an elbow to the head and missed a game with a right eye contusion.
In practice, Feb. 25, he collided with teammate Jon Brockman. Ilyasova suffered concussion-like symptoms and was kept out of action as a precaution.
At this point, the Bucks really don’t need him because there are a handful of games remaining in the regular season, and it’s unlikely that they will make the playoffs.
Corey Maggette missed a couple of games for the Bucks with a concussion. Head coach Scott Skiles had concussions when he was a player, but at that time, there was little testing done to diagnose the short and long-term effects.
Hockey player Sidney Crosby was out for the Pittsburgh Penguins with a concussion. Those same symptoms also kept Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers out for a game. NFL Hall of Famers Steve Young and Troy Aikman suffered concussions during their playing days. Aikman has been asked to speak about concussions, but he refused. He doesn’t want to be the poster boy for some organization looking for a national spokesperson.
Delfino is happy to be back on the court. His comeback from lying in a dark bedroom to playing in well-lit arenas without feeling dizzy made it a wonderful story.
What would be a better story is a comeback by the Bucks to take the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. If they make it, they might play the Chicago Bulls.
The month of March was supposed to be a surge by the Bucks to catch the Indiana Pacers. The road win over the New York Knicks recently should have been a momentum swing for Milwaukee.
Then the Bulls came to the Bradley Center, March 26, and came back from 15 points down in the third quarter to tie the game at 87 at the 2 minute 28 second mark of the fourth quarter. The visitors scored the last eight points to win 95-87.
Chicago never led in until late in the game. To let the opportunity slip away like the Bucks did was embarrassing.
The other thing that was embarrassing was the sellout crowd of mostly Bulls fans. Last season, when the L.A. Lakers came to the BC, the fans chanted “MVP!” for Kobe Bryant. This time, that same chant was directed at guard Derrick Rose. Chants of “MVP!” were heard outside the building after the game, which disrupted Skiles’ postgame press conference.
Michael Redd was in uniform and hoped to play last weekend, but it wasn’t happening. Skiles wasn’t going to put him in there if it wasn’t necessary.
You might as well put him in because the $18 million he got from the team this season might be sitting in a bank somewhere in Columbus, OH.
The last thing the Bucks want for Redd to do is come back to the BC with another team and scorch them.
So what is general manager John Hammond to do when his team is struggling to extend the season past April?
He can wait until the summer, dump expiring contracts and hope to get some better players to make another run at the playoffs in 2011-12.