Iverson: ‘Longshot’ for me to play in opener
For the first time in his career, Allen Iverson vows to take the advice of others instead of listening to his body.
That means the 10-time All-Star could miss Memphis’ season opener Wednesday against his former team, Detroit, as he recovers from a partly torn left hamstring.
While upbeat and pain-free after a workout before sitting out the Grizzlies’ exhibition finale Friday against Charlotte, Iverson indicated there’s a good chance the Grizzlies’ medical staff won’t clear him for the opener because of fears he’s not completely healed.
“They’re saying it’s a possibility, but it’s also a longshot,” Iverson said on playing against the Pistons. “You know that’s one of the ones I definitely want to play.”
Iverson said he won’t be out long, however, as his rehab progresses well from the injury suffered in a scrimmage Oct. 4. While he sat out all eight exhibition games, he started more involved workouts this week. After not traveling with the team to Miami, he joined the club in Charlotte Thursday night.
Iverson said he feels great, has no pain in his leg and can run and cut without trouble. But he also said he’s going to listen to the advice of others because the 34-year-old has never had this injury.
“I guess for one time in my life when it comes to my body, I’ll listen to somebody else,” Iverson said. “Usually I go off of my instincts. This time, I’ll make sure I listen to the professionals.”
Iverson said he feared his hamstring would pop because it was tight for several days in training camp.
“I honestly told my wife that my hamstring has never been this tight before,” Iverson said. “I was going through practices and it would never loosen up. … I was saying that it feels like it would pop any minute. And sure enough, I was driving and I tried to change direction. As soon as I planted down to cut the other way I couldn’t hear it, but I could feel it, pop. And I knew something was wrong.”
Iverson said because of the layoff he’s yet to learn all the Grizzlies’ plays, the system, and the tendencies of his teammates. After an ugly departure from Detroit after last season, he had little interest from the free-agent market before agreeing to a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Grizzlies in September.
Iverson will be asked to fit in with a young core led by Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo.
“I’m usually getting treatment during practice time and they’re out there running plays. But once I get back into practice and just watching the plays for a couple days, I’ll pick it up like that,” Iverson said. “But as far as styles and everything, I just know how to adjust.
“I think my job with this team is making guys better, putting pressure on defenses. Causing a lot of ruckus as far as guys having to pay a lot of attention to me and getting other guys easy looks.”
The former league MVP who’s scored more than 23,000 points feels he’s got something left- and will prove it once the training staff lets him.
“I feel 100 percent, but they’ve been telling me with this injury, that’s the way it is,” Iverson said. “You feel well and then you go out there and try to take it fifth gear and it can tear again. That’s my whole dilemma right now, but I feel good.”