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NBA PM: Splitter Discusses Surgery Decision

Atlanta’s Tiago Splitter explains why he had season-ending hip surgery and provides an update as he recovers.

Alex Kennedy

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Splitter Discusses Difficult Decision to Have Surgery

Last month, Atlanta Hawks big man Tiago Splitter announced that he would be undergoing surgery on his right hip. He is expected to be out for approximately seven more months as he recovers from the surgery.

Immediately, some fans reacted negatively since they thought it was an elective surgery and they were disappointed the Hawks wouldn’t have Splitter available in the playoffs. However, it’s always important to remember that NBA players are people too. Splitter has done a great job of explaining his decision to have surgery and documenting this process so that fans see exactly what he’s going through and how hard this has been on him.

Splitter, who had the surgery on February 25, said that this “was the hardest decision of my career and even more for someone like me who never had any injury take me to the operating room.”

But he explained that he “had to make this difficult decision that involves more than this season or the Olympics dream in my country [Brazil], but it reaches my personal health and my career.”

“I’ve been fighting since the beginning of this season with severe pain in the hip that made me play several times at my limit,” Splitter wrote on Instagram in Feb. “I never resigned myself to be off the court for any reason. I always loved to play, either for my team or the Brazilian national team. But these pains increased and [became] increasingly unbearable. I did all the treatments and therapies available, however nothing solved the pain I felt, and it only increased with every single game.”

The 31-year-old played in 36 games for the Hawks – his first season with the team – and he averaged 5.6 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 52.3 percent from the field. Statistically, this was Splitter’s worst season since his rookie year with the San Antonio Spurs back in 2010-11. Knowing that he was playing through severe pain helps explain his drop in production – along with playing fewer minutes (16.1 per game) and adjusting to a new team.

Now that Splitter has had the surgery and started the recovery process, he wrote an article for The Cycle to provide an update on his status.

“I take my responsibility to perform at a high level each night very seriously,” Splitter wrote. “I tried everything I could to get back on the court this season… anti-inflammatories, injections, physical therapy. These are the treatments all NBA players get to stay healthy. But nothing worked and the pain continued. I couldn’t play the way I wanted to and it began to impact me at home. My activity with my kids was way down and I suffered from many restless nights. I couldn’t bend down to put my socks on.

“So I started doing my research. I spoke with everyone I could find inside the NBA and out, including multiple doctors, the Hawks medical staff, and people who had experienced hip pain during and after their careers, including Ronny Turiaf, Jason Kidd and even someone named Travis Andre Ross, who trains for American Ninja Warrior (I contacted him through Instagram!). Everyone was supportive and passionate about attacking the problem. The surgery [I had] is designed specifically to allow me to return to a NBA level of physical performance.”

Turiaf told Basketball Insiders that he was happy to help Splitter with his recovery.

“Tiago reached out to me and I was very happy to share my experience with him about the rehab process and what’s ahead of him,” Turiaf said. “We had a fair deal: I supported with the hip surgery and he helped me discover Rio de Janeiro when I went there. Worked out well for both parties!”

The hope for Splitter is that after this surgery, he’ll look more like the player who became a key piece for the Spurs during his five seasons with the organization than the player who struggled for much of this campaign.

The timing is rough for Splitter since he will miss Atlanta’s playoff run and the Rio Olympics, which are in his home country of Brazil. He was the first Brazilian-born player to win an NBA championship and he was really looking forward to representing his country in Rio.

“The toughest part of the decision is missing the Olympics,” Splitter wrote. “Brazil has been dreaming of this moment for a long time and to have the games in my home country is really special for every Brazilian athlete. It hurts that I can’t play, but my Brazilian brothers in the NBA have been really supportive.”

Splitter shared a video of him walking as part of his rehab and he seems determined to be better than ever when he gets back on the court.

“It’s crazy that I made it here [from Brazil] and now I must keep going,” Splitter wrote. “This is what drives me. I am excited that I am getting better.”

Splitter is under contract through next season with the Hawks (on a $8,550,000 salary) and then he’ll become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2017.

New Basketball Insiders Podcast

In the latest installment of the Basketball Insiders Podcast, our salary cap experts Eric Pincus and Larry Coon discuss the Los Angeles Lakers’ future, Commissioner Adam Silver and labor negotiations, and the 2017 All-Star Game controversy in Charlotte. Listen below!

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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Legacy

Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders

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From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to: openings2021@basketballinsiders.com

 

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#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz

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With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

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Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler

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What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:

 

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