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DeShawn's Lost Season

As reported last night, DeShawn Stevenson said that he is undergoing season ending back surgery Thursday. It's something Stevenson really wanted to avoid -- the guy once played half a season on a partially torn meniscus to avoid going under the knife -- but became unnavoidable after his aborted comeback in January.

It was that kind of season for Stevenson, who couldn't make a shot to save his life and was plagued by back and hamstring issues early on. He wound up averaging a paltry 6.6 points on 31.2 percent shooting (27.1 percen from 3-point range) and never looked comfortable on the floor.

The good news is that Darius Songaila bounced back from lower back surgery to be a productive player again and Stevenson is still a young guy. He's owed $3.88 million nexst season and $4.15 million in 2010-2011 so he's obviously still going to be a part of this team's immediate future.

By Ivan Carter  |  March 3, 2009; 12:20 PM ET
 
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Comments

I know this is late but still.

"Wizards starters: Mike James, Dominic McGuire, Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche, Darius Songaila."

Say what you will about Synder (I hate the guy) but at least he coughs up the $$ to win on paper.

Posted by: NFeKPo | March 3, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

^ LMAO.

seriously tho, best of luck, Deshawn. ur a cool customer, and we need u on the floor.

Posted by: prescrunk | March 3, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"Say what you will about Synder (I hate the guy) but at least he coughs up the $$ to win on paper."

Yeah, and how's that been working out for the Skins? Meanwhile, how many 'bowls have the Patriots and Steelers, two teams who are known for not overpaying for talent, won in the past decade?

The games aren't played or won on paper. it's what's on the field/court that counts, and spending more money doesn't automatically mean better results.

just ask the Knicks.

As for Deshawn:

This does not bode well for his future. Songaila didn't exactly "bounce back." He missed most of the season following the surgery, and struggled for much of the time he did play that season. Stevenson's early athleticism was already undermined by the earlier surgery on his knees. Back surgery, even a successful one, will only degrade it more, a problem for a spot up shooter (who needs lift on his shot) and a defender (who needs to be able to move laterally).

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 3, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

As reported last night, DeShawn Stevenson said that he is undergoing season ending back surgery Thursday.

Ivan,

Say it isn’t soooooooo…..

I had hoped if DeShawn came back the team would make the playoffs.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 3, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I was hoping having Stevenson out for a long period of time would light a fire under Nick Young and he would eventually become our "new" starting 2. Optimism is a drink best served cold, ice cold. My prediction is that, if we don't get the number one pick, we package the "curse" (2-4)pick with Nick Young and Etan for somebody. Huge disappointment this year, minus that 3-4 game stretch where he couldn't miss. PLAY SOME D LIKE YOUR BOY DOM (best story during this dreadful season, then Javale, then Javaris)

Posted by: BurgwithaU | March 3, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Go easy on Nick The Quick. It's always year three where they figure it out or bust. He's certainly shown enough potentiail to hang around for one more season.

Personally, I think he'll pan out in the end into a more than servicable shooter. If we can get him playing the 2 next year and getting minutes with other offensive weapons on the floor, I think you'll see his offensive numbers become much more consistent.

Now, I'm willing to concede the question of defense. Hopefully he comes around on that, cause so far it's pretty grim. Course you can say the same for JaVale. And Crit too. Hard to guard NBA talent. They'll learn.

Posted by: Matte | March 3, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

HASHEEM THABEET

Posted by: cj658 | March 3, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

After my first back surgery (age 20) I could only play basketball twice a week at the most. There was constant pain going down the back of my leg if I played too much. Also, my back could not handle playing more often. It would just give out. And finally, I could no longer defend my opponets if they made me work on defense.

DeShawn might have better luck, but as many of us know, having spine surgery can be very life altering. Unfortunately, avoiding the surgery is not an option because you will be in a constant state of pain.

Posted by: MeviousMan | March 3, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I think Nick has actually made a lot of progress this year on defense. Last year, he was completely lost; this year he recognizes what he needs to do, it's just that the recognition comes just a little bit too late. He'll get better with more practice and in-game experience.

DeShawn's injury changes the Wizards' needs for the draft or any offseason trades. We should be focusing on 2-guards. (Or maybe 1/2 combo guards if there is any concern that Gilbert could go down again, too.)

Posted by: yop32 | March 3, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

WOW, looks like people are starting to realize the truth:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasheem_Thabeet

Posted by: cj658 | March 3, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Not a good idea on DeShawn's part i'm sure he's listening to his doctor's but once they go in, it(the back) is never the same so I hope all goes well with the surgery and the rehab.

Posted by: dargregmag | March 3, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: cj658 | March 3, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I think Nick has actually made a lot of progress this year on defense. Last year, he was completely lost; this year he recognizes what he needs to do...

Posted by: yop32 | March 3, 2009 2:09 PM


lmao dumbest comment ever. under which coach has he made progress?? all he does on D is run around and watch for screens. Nick's game is quite simple: get open, get a pass, and shoot a fadeway. defense and passing are just not part of it. he already made it to the League too.

Posted by: prescrunk | March 3, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

He is much better than Blake Griffin, and will prove it in the Final Four.

----------------

Those wikipedia quotes are hilarious. I have no opinion on Griffin v. Thabeet, but the lack of objectivity in those articles are laughable. It was almost enough to get me to start a wikipedia account just to flag it.

Posted by: crs-one | March 3, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"I can't feel my back"

Posted by: sargeantmofo | March 3, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

cj658: "WOW, looks like people are starting to realize the truth:
'Thabeet is projected to be the number 1 selection in the 2009 NBA Draft. He is much better than Blake Griffin, and will prove it in the Final Four.'

OK, who wrote that, you or Jim Calhoun?

Posted by: Samson151 | March 3, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

OK, do you think the season is too long? 82 plus playoffs, for a lot of guys. Not that the owners or the players would want to shorten it -- their revenues and salaries would decrease. But isn't it becoming like baseball, with a whole bunch of draggy contests interspersed with a few really outstanding ones, and then the playoffs?

Posted by: Samson151 | March 3, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I totally disagree that the season is too long. Despite what the Wizards rash of so-called “injuries” would have you believe, basketball is just not a physical sport. 82 games is just fine. If hockey players can do it, then by all means basketball players can. Hockey is far more physically demanding. I do not recall OV missing much time since he signed his mega contract. And he plays in a far more physical sport. Too bad Gilbert doesn’t have that toughness. That’s what happens when you pay mentally weak players who are overrated too much money, fans will start questioning the physical toll of an NBA season. Bologna. Most of the greats in the 80’s and 90’s didn’t miss much time. I guess guys are just getting softer. That’s what happens when you overpay players who simply are here for the ride and attention (Gilbert).

Posted by: cj658 | March 3, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Unless you were or are a professional athletet, any anecdotes about how you responded to back surgery are meaningless. It also depends on how long ago your surgery occurred -- advances in surgery are happening constantly. DSong has back surgery and has come back to be pretty much the same player he was prior so that is the better example. He missed the about 6-8 months but then played. Stevenson can get the surgery and be back by November -- he can then ease his way back into the lineup.

Posted by: Chad32 | March 3, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

any anecdotes about how you responded to back surgery are meaningless... Stevenson can get the surgery and be back by November -- he can then ease his way back into the starting lineup.

Posted by: Chad32 | March 3, 2009 3:51 PM

owned! chad ftw

Posted by: prescrunk | March 3, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Chad32, you talk as if professional athlete’s bodies are different than the “average” Joe. Everyone recovers differently from surgery, but the overall result tends to be the same, regardless of whether someone is a pro-athlete or not. Pretty lousy attempt at trying to flush someone else’s respectable opinion down the toilet. The you use Dsong as an example? Give me break.

Posted by: cj658 | March 3, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Thabeet already was punked by the dude from Pitt -- Thabeet has nearly zero offense. The Wiz don't need him -- he is not a NBA team changer. Blake Griffin could be a stud in the NBA. Thabeet is a decent defensive presence but nothing else.

Posted by: Chad32 | March 3, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I think this is the right move for DS, get the problem taken care of as early as possible. Hope he can regain his last year form.

Posted by: sagaliba | March 3, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm down on Nick Young, especially after seeing him in the Atlanta game. He's soft like Charmin and can't do much other than jump high and hit open jumpers. I'm not that impressed with this Harden guy, but he may be the best option if we don't get the first pick.

Posted by: uptownjive | March 3, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Where's Dermarr Johnson?

Oh, I forgot. Les BouleS are hugging the lux tax cap, and this season isn't worth doing anything for improvement.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 3, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

As for Deshawn:

This does not bode well for his future. Songaila didn't exactly "bounce back." He missed most of the season following the surgery, and struggled for much of the time he did play that season. Stevenson's early athleticism was already undermined by the earlier surgery on his knees. Back surgery, even a successful one, will only degrade it more, a problem for a spot up shooter (who needs lift on his shot) and a defender (who needs to be able to move laterally).

Posted by: kalo_rama
----------------------------------------


A surgery on herniated disk will not affect lateral movement. I had one myself. After surgery, I was able to play competitive sport, albeit not professionally. Without surgery, herniated disk *may be* reabsorbed by the body, but that takes years, definitively not an option for professional athlete, especially the one who need to jump up and down and disks are constantly being compressed whenever you land.

When reset did not solve the problem for DS, I was thinking surgery would be the way to go, and the sooner the better (more rehab time). I remember Songaila injured his back when he played for his country's Olympic team, so he did not even have a full off season to recover. DS has the rest of season plus a full off season. He should be in better shape than Songaila.

Posted by: sagaliba | March 3, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

"A surgery on herniated disk will not affect lateral movement."

Maybe not for an average person. NBA perimeter defenders (supposedly Stevenson's strength) aren't average people. You can't play NBA perimeter defense standing straight up. Getting into a defensive stance means being able to get into a crouch and move laterally, simultaneously, which (A) requires spinal flexibility and (B) puts pressure on the spine. Depending on the exact nature of the surgery and how well he recovers, one or both of those things could be effected. Not saying he'll be crippled, but it will most likely have an effect.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 3, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

With all respect to Deshawn he was not an outstanding player when healthy. Have you seen his frustration when he tries to go to the HOLE. I remember an NFL quarter back who played football SIX weeks after disk surgery {J montano?] HAS ANYONE DOCUMENTED MY IMPRESSION THAT MORE NBA PLAYERS ARE INJURED NOW? WHY? COULD BE THEY PLAY HARDER FOR THE ENTIRE GAME. I ALSO THINK tHE DUNK DAMAGES THE LEGS' ALSO THERE ARE TOO MANY GAMES.LAST QUESTION-cAN YOU RETIRE PLAYERS BECAUSE OF DISABILITY WITHOUT AFFECTING THE CAP?

Posted by: kcandlc | March 4, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

kalo,

Most common surgery for herniated disk is discectomy. All it does is removing the extruding portion of the disk that is touching the nerve and creating pain. A successful surgery should return you to normal without losing any agility or mobility.

Another type of surgery, fusion, is usually performed on patients with spinal deformity, or more severe case of spinal injuries. It involves completely removal of the problem disk(s) and fuse two (or more) vertebrae together. Your mobility will be restricted as the result of fusion.

Another concern for herniated disk is sometimes if you waited too long, or if you have an acute and very severe herniation, then the nerve may be damaged. Unfortunately, surgery will not be able to reverse the nerve damage, and nerves take very long time (years) to heal (if at all) even after the cause is eliminated. If any nerve is damaged, you muscles will be weakened and the control of the muscles compromised (what specific muscles depend on which nerves that are damaged.)

Judged by the fact that DS was still walking around, I do not think his case is that severe, and hopefully he will have a speedy recovery.

Posted by: sagaliba | March 4, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I'm going to miss his hand on his face when he score after a dozen missed attempts. What a loss!

Posted by: iamdawalrus | March 4, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

People have a range of outcomes for any type of surgery. All that I am saying is that I am skeptical that he will have the same lateral quickness that he possessed before the surgery. Even in the best outcome I think he will be permanently hampered by this injury.

I am predicating that on my own experience with back surgery and other people I have known who have had a discectomy performed. His greatest chance for a more complete recovery is if they use a minimally invasive technique where they do not actually cut into the back with a scalpel. Unfortunately with my situation it was not possible to use a minimally invasive technique.


Sagaliba, permanent nerve damage can happen quickly and easily with a herniated disk. Just because DeShawn is walking around doesn't mean he isn't in regular pain. He has probably been trying to tough it out for several months and that is plenty of time to do permanent damage.

Posted by: MeviousMan | March 4, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

DSS's back surgery was necessary for him to lead a normaly, healthy adult life. Whether he can ever return to the form that made him a very solid 2 guard on the Wiz dependes on (a) whether the surgery is done less invasively and (b) the extent of any permanent nerve damage he's incurred while trying to play/rehab the injury. I had noticed even early in the season that DSS did not have the lift on his jumper and seemed to be lacking lateral movement.

Again, the Wizards medical staff allowed him to continue to play despite the injury which they knew to be serious enough to potentially warrant surgery. Kudos to DSS as a warrior who wanted to be out there to help his team, although I think he may have risked his long-term ability to ever return to 100% form.

As far as his long-term replacement, I don't see it being NY. There's as much a chance that Caron becomes the permanent starter at the 2 position if the Wiz pick a big man and D-Mac continues to establish himself as the starter at the 3. I doubt the Wiz will be looking for a another SG unless they package NY along with Etan and their No. 1 for a veteran player.

Posted by: wizfan89 | March 4, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

MeviousMan,

Judged by the fact that DS has tried cortisone shots earlier, his herniated disk seems not severe enough to damage the nerve. Otherwise, doctor would have recommended surgery right away or facing malpractice suit if such delay caused nerve damages.

Cortisone shot is simply a "pain management," it eases the inflammatory of the nerve, and hopes a less inflamed nerve would not rub against the disk. It does absolute nothing to the herniated disk itself, and thus would only work if herniated disk is *barely* touching the nerve. Cortisone shots could not help patients with severe case (i.e., massive) of herniated disk. Any doctor would know that, and would not waste time to try it.

Posted by: sagaliba | March 4, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"I had noticed even early in the season that DSS did not have the lift on his jumper and seemed to be lacking lateral movement."

I think mostly caused by the pain he was suffering then. When you have herniated disks, every jump (more precisely, landing, and the higher you jump, the harder you land) and leaning certain way is painful.

A very server case of herniated disk that could result in acute nerve damage usually would be so painful that you won't be able to walk, let alone playing sport.

Posted by: sagaliba | March 4, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

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