According to a report by Sportundo, Omer Asik will not play for Turkey this summer due to back problems.
New Orleans Pelicans big-man Omer Asik won't play with Turkish NT at Eurobasket 2015 due to back problems. Asik had a consultation with doctors and the results weren't very good. The back spams he suffered are still there, so Asik left the training camp.
Last season, Asik missed a stretch of 4 games in November due to back spasms. However, they didn't seem to be too severe because in his first game missed against the Portland Trailblazers he reportedly had wanted to play, but the coaching staff decided to hold him back.
This recent news, though, can't be viewed as anything but negative. Here we are towards the end of July, exactly 3 months after the Pelicans were eliminated from the 2015 NBA playoffs, and Asik's back issues have flared up again.
Digging a little deeper, I came across this tidbit on a Turkish site.
"Omer Asik in the period last year, when he joined the national team camp known as lumbar and sacroiliac joints at the back of the pelvis there was pain. Even at that time the New Orleans Pelicans team also sent their own team conditioner for conditioning work with Omar. We were able to play our players at the World Championships last year by implementing an intensive treatment. This year we also had a few games of the season because of Omar's current problems can not play for his club. Latest New Orleans Pelicans meeting with our team doctor Omer Asik continued problems of sacroiliitis and reactive arthritis and found that currently receive treatment. I'm the light of the information received; Omer Asik with existing health problems is not possible to be ready for the European Championship National Team Manager and I have been reported to the Technical committee "
The translation isn't perfect, but we do learn the source of Asik's problem: sacroiliitis and reactive arthritis. It appears this arthritis is responsible for causing the sacroliitis (inflammation in an area below the lumbar spine and above the tailbone). Thus, this is likely responsible for the pain in his lower back region, specifically the sacroiliac joint.
Dysfunction in the sacroiliac joint, or SI joint, is thought to cause low back and/or leg pain. The leg pain can be particularly difficult, and may feel similar to sciatica or pain caused by a lumbar disc herniation.
The reactive arthritis began due to an infection likely occurring in his genitourinary tract. Treatment usually consists of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medicines and rest; however, symptoms typically last from 3 to 12 months.
In the translated Turkish paragraph, it insinuates this condition caused him to miss the 4 games last year and the problem also plagued him last summer. Thus, this news raises several important questions. Was Asik's condition initially misdiagnosed (a common occurrence in diagnosing sacroiliac joint dysfunction)? Or worse, is his reactive arthritis a chronic condition, one that will continue to plague him on/off for the rest of his playing career?
More importantly, was this issue debilitating enough to be partially responsible for his seemingly inept play at times (ie. woeful conversion rates around the rim)? Did the condition force Monty Williams to limit his minutes at times, especially when certain situations seemed to beckon for more of Asik?
Either way, today's news seems to reaffirm the warrior mentality that Asik possesses, and thus why Dell Demps was probably adamant about wanting to keep him on the roster alongside Anthony Davis -- that we haven't seen the best of Asik on both ends of the floor.
Hopefully, though, the whole situation doesn't backfire on the Pelicans, and he overcomes this problem sooner rather than later because an uptempo pace next season would certainly increase the inflammation if the disease persists.