Throughout the past few months, we've noted various culture-shock moments in which NBA players trying to escape the lockout have brushed up against a different way of life in Europe and China. J.R. Smith's fine-ridden escapades with Zhejiang Chouzhou got the most attention, but all players encountered some difficulty, even if that just meant figuring out a place to eat in an unfamiliar city.
Most of those creature discomforts are ultimately small, though. It's when a player gets hurt that the differences really become stark. Smith learned that when he needed his knee looked at this fall, and Sonny Weems, now playing for Zalgiris in Lithuania, found out about those difficulties this weekend after suffering a serious ankle sprain. Here's what he tweeted (via @LithuaniaBasket):
This is ridiculous. I can't even get treatment on my injured here!!! This is ridiculous!!
It seems that Zalgiris wasn't able to treat him properly, although the specifics are still unclear. Hours later, Weems took to Facebook, as noted by TalkBasket.net:
"Back to the states to get right!!! Smh looks like I wont be walking anytime soon!!"
That Facebook notice included a photo of the injury, which you can see after the jump. Be warned, though, because it's a little gross.
Zalgiris responded to Weems's comments by saying he just doesn't understand the treatment procedure for this injury, which seems right if that procedure is "letting a terribly swollen ankle just hang out for a while as nature takes its course." I wouldn't understand that, either.
Let this be yet another reminder that playing overseas isn't just an issue of adjusting to another national culture, but to a basketball culture, as well. There's a different set of expectations and rules in all aspects of the game, the sort that ensure that any bump in the road will bring up three or four new and unexpected experiences. After this injury, Weems is probably just hoping that he makes it out without any lasting damage.
- Sonny Weems