Wedman Situation Botched

March 1986


The Celtics management's handling of Scott Wedman's back problem was a disservice to Wedman and Celtics fans everywhere. When Wedman left the team and went home to Kansas City Tuesday, it was announced that he had a "personal problem." General manager Jan Volk, trainer Ray Melchiorre, assistant coach Jimmy Rodgers and publicist Jeff Twiss would not elaborate. For 24 hours, fans were allowed to draw their own conclusions about Wedman's absence.

One day later, when it was obvious that Wedman wouldn't make it to last night's game against Golden State, it was announced that Wedman had a back injury. Why did the Celtics try to cover up a back injury? "K.C. (Jones) didn't want to make a big deal out of it," said Volk.

"I figured personal business was all there was to say," Jones said last night. "It was nothing to really get excited about."

In fact, the Celtics made a much bigger deal out of the situation by issuing a short and mysterious statement about Wedman's "personal problem." Since when has a back injury been termed a personal problem? Was no one astute enough to recognize the ominous overtones of this tiny bit of information?

Micheal Ray Richardson, Quintin Dailey, John Lucas and Walter Davis left their teams because of "personal problems." Scott Wedman left because he needed some work on his bad back.

Why did the Celtics attempt to prevent Wedman's injury from being publicized? There are two plausible explanations.

(1) The Tass News Agency Theory: The Celtics only tell you what they want you to know. They are required to do nothing more than that, and are certainly free to handle the media and the public with their trademark institutional arrogance. After all, if they can keep other teams from knowing about Wedman's injury, it could be beneficial to The Cause.

(2) The Internal Medical Squabble Theory: Celtics team physician Thomas Silva bristles when Boston players seek help elsewhere. Wedman went to Kansas City to be treated by chiropractor and physical therapist Steve Krischel. Hiding the nature of Wedman's problem served to minimize the hard feelings and jealousy that permeate the Celtics' medical department.

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