Good news, everyone — Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague isn't partially deaf anymore because a Utah doctor cleaned out his ears, which were apparently so full of waxy buildup that he literally couldn't hear out of his left ear during Atlanta's weekend losses to the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers. Whew. Glad we got that all cleared up.
Now that we've successfully avoided burying the lede, like so much earwax being compressed by an unforgiving cotton swab, let's take a deep breath and ask, as Teague surely did on Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Wait, what?
“I couldn’t hear anything out of my left ear, at all,” Teague said. “It hit me the day before we played Golden State. In L.A., I couldn’t hear anything. On the plane, it went crazy.”
A doctor removed a considerable amount of wax from both ears. He advised Teague not to use cotton swabs to clean his ears and that doing so pushes wax deep into the ear canal. Teague said he has used swabs on a daily basis for many years.
“He got it out and now I can hear everything,” Teague said. “It’s like a miracle.”
I mean, that'd be a pretty weak miracle — like, if you heard that the Pope just declared a new saint, and that one of the miracles that qualified this person to canonization was "helped a guy get a bunch of wax out of his ears," you'd probably shake your head or grumble or laugh a lot — but I'm glad Teague's feeling better. I'm sure Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer is feeling better, too, now that he knows why those interactions he was having with his starting point guard were going so poorly.
"OK, Jeff, Golden State's bigs are active in the passing lanes, so stick with simple entry passes against them — no wild lobs ahead into the paint."
"Jeff, seriously, I need you to listen to me — you've got to put that little scoop shot back in your pocket. It's not helping you at all right now."
Teague told Vivlamore that the wax-induced partial deafness hadn't impacted his play at all, which the stat sheet partially bears out; after going 3 for 9 in Atlanta's losses on Friday and Saturday, he shot just 3 for 10 against the Utah Jazz on Monday. He did, however, get to the free-throw line more often (7 for 9 from the stripe against the Jazz, compared with a 5 for 6 mark in his previous two games combined) and dish six assists against just one turnover in Atlanta's 112-110 win over the scrappy but sad Jazz, teaming with ex-Jazzmen Kyle Korver (26 points on 12 shots), Paul Millsap (23 points, eight rebounds, three assists) and DeMarre Carroll (11 points, six rebounds, four assists) to snap a six-game losing streak and stay 3 1/2 games ahead of both the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons in the "race" for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
Whether the Knicks (winners of four straight) or Pistons can get it together enough to make a real run at the No. 8 spot remains to be seen. At least now we know Atlanta's point guard will be able to hear the footsteps if they do.
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