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Don't Judge Iverson Until He's Healthy

Last night, Allen Iverson returned to the Pistons, coming off the bench against the Sixers who, in case you've been dead for the last decade plus, were pretty much synonymous with AI for a while. Detroit won, with a steal by Iverson keying off the run that put them over the top. And with the Pistons just hanging onto the eighth spot in the East, every win counts, if nothing else for morale. Iverson didn't start, he produced, the team succeeded, everything's right in D-Town. Right? ↵
↵Color me wary, or at least reserving judgment for the time being. Not because Philly's not good -- they are, and Detroit's fallen far enough that they have to prove they can beat them. No, it has to do with Iverson's own assessment of where he's at, from the Detroit Free Press: ↵
↵⇥"Iverson said he 'tried to put it in an extra gear' on that play in the fourth quarter 'and I might not be ready for that gear yet.' ... [he] said his conditioning was 1 on a scale of 1-10." ↵
↵So let's wait and see how this new arrangement works when AI is back to his usual self. In a weird way, he might be more helpful to the Pistons if he's not going full-speed, or has to take rests. That's what they've got to work out by the time the postseason rolls around. ↵
↵Incidentally, AI had some quotes that get at my point about how his record of toughness figures here: ↵
↵⇥"You get all the praise in the world for being a warrior ... and then when I get an injury that I've never had before and an injury that actually bothered me the way it did, people started to question me," he said. "That was the toughest thing. I had this warrior image my whole career, and then I get one injury where I can't go -- I think it's more or less people can't believe it -- so they expect me to play the Superman role every time." ↵
↵I don't care what you think of Iverson's game (I've always been ambivalent). When it comes to speaking to the press, there's no more emotional read in the league.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.