All eyes will be on Steph Curry and Lebron James on Sunday night but in my opinion, there is someone else that will decide this game 7. If you watch enough basketball, you know that Tristan Thompson’s performance is very unlikely to be repeated on the road, as role players tend to only shine that bright at home. With the Cleveland role players coming back to earth, I think we can expect Lebron and Kyrie Irving to carry the load like they did in game 5. Additionally, we can assume that by returning home that the Warriors role players will step their games up. But there is one person that I bet no one is looking at as having the biggest role for Sunday night’s game….take your guess before you read on.
If you guessed Andre Iguodala you are the close, but not quite. Chelsea Lane is actually my guaranteed MVP for Sunday night. In her case the P stands for PhysioTherapist or as the Warriors label her “head performance therapist”. She is the lady who always has her collar popped on the sidelines. You probably noticed her massaging Andre Iguodala’s back in game 6.
When you go back to my theory that the role players for Cleveland will return to their shells, it leads you to the fact that stopping Lebron from scoring will be essential in the Warriors getting this win. No one in the world is better equipped to stop Lebron James than Andre Iguodala, but if his back is not allowing him to move, the Warriors are in big trouble. This leads us back to Chelsea Lane.
The status of Iguodala’s back will be mostly on Lane in preparation for game 7. While the exact diagnosis for Iguodala has not been reported, he appears to have a low back strain/sprain type injury. Generally this is a minor issue that does not take long to manage, however it does typically take more than 2 days. If this were more of a typical rehabilitation for a back injury, the responsibility is more of a shared burden between the player and the rehab staff; but in this case I put the majority of the task on the staff. Andre Iguodala will likely be receiving a regimen that is modality heavy over the 68 hours that separate game 6 and game 7. These modalities will help loosen and relax the injured area, while also helping healthy blood flow to the area to support healing. Additionally, Chelsea Lane is likely to give a good amount of manual therapy to the area to manipulate and mobilize the tissues in his low back.
It is doubtful that Iguodala will have much of an active role with his short-term therapy as this may lead to fatigue in his low back and therefore elevate his risk for recurrence during the game. This puts the ball almost solely in the hands of Lane and her staff to make sure that the reigning Finals MVP can help the Golden State Warriors win a second championship. While Lane will not be playing on Sunday night, she will need to be on her game during the break between games to likely decide the NBA champion. I literally believe the Warriors have no chance if she does not do her job well.
With an abundance of experience with these types of injuries and knowing the pedigree of Chelsea Lane, I am 1000 percent sure that Andre Iguodala will at least take the court on Sunday night. The measure of how well Lane manages this injury will be based on how long he can play. Back injuries are impossible to run from as your back has to be active in nearly every movement you make. For many patients I use back stability braces or other adaptive equipment to protect from re-injury; but with basketball players this is not much of an option due to the flexibility demands on the basketball court. Lane will simply have to hit that perfect balance of helping Iguodala be loose but not too loose, so that he can survive for about 30 minutes on the court. Furthermore, she will have to keep him loose when he is not on the court. I expect moist heat, bike riding, and anything else that will keep his low back warmed up.
In the end I believe the Physical Therapy that Andre Iguodala receives will decide the the NBA championship. With that said, I am betting on therapy and Chelsea Lane to succeed!