To say the least, it's been a rough beginning for Iguodala under new coach Doug Collins.
"I was talking to him [yesterday morning] and he really feels like he's been banged up all season," Collins said. "Whether it's been his wrist or whether it's been his Achilles'. I told him, 'You've got to get yourself right.' There's no reason to come back for one game or two games and not be yourself and then be back out for four or five games or whatever. He's got to get healthy, that's the whole key. I think from his standpoint it's a little disconcerting when you've played your whole career and you've only missed about seven games or so. He told me this morning when we spoke, 'I have not felt good for one game yet this year.' "
So, as great an experience as it was for Iguodala to garner gold, was it worth it?
"I don't want to blame USA basketball," said Collins, a silver-medal winner in the controversial 1972 Olympics. "There's no question those extra games and that extra time does wear on your body. That's the fine line that all the organizations are always walking. They all want their players to play and get that experience, but at the same time they want them fresh and healthy. It's that fine line you're treading. I love our guys playing USA basketball. I think most owners love that their players get that opportunity, but no question it is extra wear on their bodies."
As for when Iguodala will return, Collins said that will be determined by how he is feeling.
"Nobody knows their body better than the player," Collins said.
Still going strong
At yesterday's shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena, while Doug Collins was chatting with the media, a huge roar was building at the other end of the court. That's where the big men were having a shooting contest, with two teams of three players pitted against each other.
While the competition was only for pride, you would have thought there was major money on the line. The most competitive of the bunch was 12-year vet Elton Brand.
Though he has endured many tough seasons throughout his career, mostly with the Los Angeles Clippers, Brand still brings a passion to practice and games that few match on this team.
"I'm a professional," Brand said. "I want to compete for myself, my city, my fans, my team. It's not hard. As long as I'm playing, I'm going to play hard."
Brand has been producing this season, averaging a team-high 16.3 points and 7.9 rebounds going into last night. He has scored 20 or more points five times this season, after doing so only 12 times last year. Brand had 13 points and 11 boards in last night's loss to Cleveland.
Now that he is approaching his twilight, the losing becomes much harder for Brand.
"Now being older and wanting to get to that postseason and wanting to get to that level, it's especially tough," he said. "But I just believe that we're not that far away. Some of the tough games we've lost, all the back-to-backs, I really feel that it will even out."