Top-Tier Ref Plans A Comeback

by September 19, 2010

Steve Javie, one of the NBA’s best officials, is giving it a go this coming season. Trust us, this is very good for the NBA and its fans.

Howard Beck reports on New York Times NBA Blog: “An envelope containing the N.B.A.’s referee schedule arrived in Steve Javie’s mailbox the other day, as it has every September for the last 25 years. This one felt different. ‘It felt like Christmas Eve,’ Javie said gleefully. ‘I didn’t know if I would get one again.’ Only a month ago, Javie was perched on the edge of retirement, unsure if his creaky right knee could endure another season of daily pounding. He missed nearly all of last season, including the playoffs. It appeared that the N.B.A. would lose one of its best officials. But a combination of treatments has given the knee some comfort and Javie some hope, and he plans to be back on the court, whistle at the ready, this fall. ‘I’m very cautious right now; I’m cautiously optimistic,’ the 55-year-old Javie said by phone from the Jersey Shore, where he was vacationing with his family. Even Javie is unsure how long his comeback will last. He has no cartilage left in his knee, a result of 30 years of wear and tear. When he runs, ‘it’s bone on bone,’ he said. Javie could have reconstructive surgery, but it would require a year of recovery, and the prosthetics are not designed for the abuse of an N.B.A. schedule. So Javie has been working hard to strengthen his quadriceps and hamstrings to take some pressure off the knee. He has undergone platelet-rich plasma therapy, which some doctors believe could help regenerate cartilage. Javie also recently began receiving viscous injections that simulate cartilage and provide some buffer between the bones. He hopes the injections ‘can buy me another year or two.'”

We hope so, too.