Posted by Bob Biscigliano in Allen Iverson, back injuries just a part of a greater conspiracy theory?, Jon Kitna
Back in October, the Lions reported that Jon Kitna was going to be placed on the Injured Reserve because of his back. When Kitna spoke to the media about the Lions decision, he made it seem like he was going to be fine within a couple weeks and putting him on the IR was not necessary. The Lions did it anyway.
This all transpired after Kitna was replaced in the humiliating loss to Chicago at home (34-7). Throughout the fourth quarter, Kitna clearly had a back problem as he was icing it the entire time. There's no denying that, but Kitna was also terrible up to that point. The team was 0-4 with him under the helm and he rocked a subpar 72.2 QB rating. People were crying for a change, so when the Lions were given a chance to make a permanent switch, utilizing the excuse of his back injury, they pounced on it. Kitna didn't see another snap all season and was placed on IR after the next week's loss.
What's the relevance of this; he was traded to Dallas. Who cares?
Well, the Pistons have a chance to make a similar decision with Allen Iverson. Iverson has missed two straight games with a back injury he initially tweaked against Miami and tried to play through the next night versus New Orleans. In all the games Iverson has missed this season, the Pistons have played significantly better. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Pistons are 6-1 without AI and 23-28 with him.
Iverson's obviously a much better athlete than Jon Kitna is/was and AI has accomplished infinite more in his career. (I would never ever, in a million years, try and compare their talent in respect to their sports; don't misunderstand that). However, the situations are similar. Iverson just isn't getting the job done as a Piston in their system and as a result, the Pistons suffer. Similarly, the Lions were 0-4 under a guy that time after time couldn't make the big play. The back injury in Kitna's case served as the escape route.
Now I'm not fully on board with this idea. I just think it's an interesting perspective/comparison. However, if the Pistons are as perceptive as their fans, and I think they are, they probably realize they are better without AI, too. Or at least they play better without him.
AI is more than likely a future Hall of Famer and you don't just go releasing players of his caliber. However, if he's going to continue to be a burden on the Pistons' system and his playing translates into more L's than W's then you also have to do something to fix it.
So what should the Pistons do?
There are three options. One is release him. I think I just dismissed that idea. Not a good idea. The second option would be to play him in small dosages; as to the analogy I've used before, let him run free like a kid at recess to let the others get a breather, but put a time restriction on him. Bring him inside when it's time to get serious and get to work (similar to what they were doing earlier this season when he wasn't seeing many minutes, if any, during the fourth quarter). The last option is to take the Detroit Lions approach: make the back injury more serious than it really is
I like option two the best, because a guy like AI can always take games over if everyone else is cold. However, I am very intrigued by the idea of option three. Also, the Pistons have been very vague when asked to give a time table for Iverson's return.
It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out.