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Thoughts on Malcolm Lee: Should UCLA's Captain Keep Playing?

Let's do up another post on Malcolm Lee late this morning in the West Coast (may be some of you guys are already up on the East?). The Los Angeles Times reports that Lee has "a small cartilage tear in his left knee" but is "expected to play".

Howland said Lee would not wear a brace when the Bruins open the Pacific Life Pacific 10 Conference tournament Thursday against Arizona State or Oregon. The coach also said he might play Lee a few minutes less than he normally does, with Lamb and Anderson making up the difference. Lee has averaged 35.5 minutes in Pac-10 play.

Howland said Lee was not risking aggravating his knee injury by playing, though surgery after the season remained a possibility.

"The key to it is that we've been assured he's not in any danger of injuring it worse," Howland said. "This kind of thing has happened multiple times to players in different sports."

Jon Gold gave more clarification on Lee's situation:

Malcolm Lee has a small cartilage tear in his left knee. Those types of injuries are typically one-off, in that there isn't a huge fear of him aggravating or "increasing" the injury. If you play on a small cartilage tear, it's not like one wrong twist and your knee explodes.

Now, obviously there is/was a concern about the extent of the injuries, and that's what took so long to diagnose it and make it public. Lee quite obviously would be risking a lot by hurrying back. Howland and Lee himself said today that is not the case, that doctors have assured them that there is not a risk of further injury.

Howland did say, however, that Lee's minutes would be monitored and possibly altered, given the wear-and-tear of potentially three games in three days.

I am not a doctor. I didn't stay in Holiday Inn but I feel a little unsure about this.

The truth is it is hard to have an opinion without really knowing exactly how hurt he actually is. My rule of thumb is this question: Are you hurt or are you injured? If you are hurt and can take the pain and you can't hurt it worse than you should go for it. But if you are really injured and are risking more damage than you should shut it down.

My feeling is if there is any risk at all he needs to sit. The truth is this team isn't going to win the title. They are not capable of playing six good games in a row. Tha'ts just a fact. So he needs to be cautious. If we were in the final four and only needed two for the banner than maybe you take more chances. But there is almost no chance we go all the way, so what would he be risking his health (and future) for?

I think Lee has done enough this season. He is the MVP of our team. He has been the silent leader of this squad all season long and has set the example of how "Ben Ball" is supposed to be played for the entire 40 minutes. He has officially not earned his initials as a "Ben Ball warrior" on this blog but he is damn close. What I am saying is that I am not sure he has anything to prove at this point.

There were some really good thoughts on this story in our last thread on Lee. I thought it would be cool to highlight some of them after the jump.

Oswego Bruin's frank reflections before the extent of Lee's injury news became public earlier today (guess yesterday at the time I post this):

Now there are two sides to this. The obvious side is FOL (I'll give you a hint: the middle word is "our"). This has been a really really bad two day stretch with Lee and Willis. We are going to struggle without Lee.

The other side, and I hate to jump the gun or make awful statements (but I know you too already are or soon will be thinking along these selfish, selfish lines), but this may get us Malcolm for another year. I know people were saying Honeycutt was most likely to leave, but Lee was a pretty solid pick for a first rounder, especially if we have a good showing in the tourneys.

Give Oswego props for his honesty.

Class of 66:

I've Never Liked the Pac 10 Tournament and I Dislike It More Now

It's all about money - and that's not what is supposed to drive college sports.

Who needs it in a league where all of the teams play each other twice?

If you need to win the tournament to get an NCAA seed, you probably don't belong in the dance.

The hidden cost is what it does to our kids. I'd prefer they have this week to rest, get healthy and study.

Wasn't it Lute Olsen who started back ups and rested his first line troops? I don't think that's a bad idea.

No matter where Malcolm's knee falls on the diagnostic scale, I just as soon he and Zeek have a week of rest. And, frankly, I hate to see any of our kids play and take the risk of getting hurt. Do we really need to risk Reeves, Tyler, Josh, Anthony, or Jerime? How would we feel if they got hurt in a meaningless Pac 10 tourney game?

66 also wondered what would have happened if Bruins played entire 40 minutes (just like Lee) and blew out Washington State on Saturday. That way Lee wouldn't have to be in during those closing mins when he got hurt. May be that will sink in with guys like Reeves Nelson and Tyler Honeycutt?

I suppose many will disagree with my take outlined above the fold. That is fine. We are including a poll in this post so you can vote on whether he should be playing in this Pac-10 tournament. Let us know what you think. Remember, if you have lot to say about this - consider sharing it in a fanpost. Thanks.