Back in June, we reported that Alex Len, the former Maryland product, had felt his injury during the college season but had been assured by doctor it could wait. Once the season was over, Len underwent surgery on his ankle in May. There were questions about his ankle during the draft and whether or not playing on it aggravated it to a more serious degree.
As per AZ Central, the Phoenix Suns felt that Len needed a bit more medical help and had him go under another surgery last Friday.
“As a precautionary measure, our medical staff determined that it would be prudent to perform surgery on Alex Len’s right ankle at this time,” Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said via team statement. “ … As part of a routine evaluation, our medical team identified the very beginnings of a stress fracture in Alex’s right ankle even though Alex was entirely asymptomatic.”
Does this mean that Maryland telling Len to play on his injury may have impacted it more than they thought? It’s impossible to really know, but as I mentioned back when the questions surfaced in June, college teams have their best interest in mind. Of course they care about the players on their rosters, but winning is important because winning means more money in the pockets of the school.
It sounds like Len’s new surgery is nothing too dangerous or career threatening. The Phoenix Suns have long since had a miraculous athletic staff that has held or revived the careers of numerous athletes including Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal. If they felt the surgery was only needed as a precautionary measure, it may be nothing at all. It’s just that the thought of a school unintentionally telling a player to go out and perform on a serious injury makes me really uncomfortable.
Had Len gotten injured further while playing for Maryland and had been unable to continue his career, he would never be compensated for his injury. Once it again it really comes down to how the NCAA profits on college students who see none of that money, it is an unfair system that has seen far too many casualties already and needs to be addressed.
As for Len, he still has a few months before the regular season stuff really starts getting going for the NBA. Hopefully by then, he will be recovered and ready to make his debut on opening night. One thing is for sure, the Phoenix staff will make certain he is 100 percent before letting him loose.