Clarification?

It’s always interesting to see what happens to a story once it gets published and then linked to on the web. We try and note the sarcasm, context, and tone of a source, such as the always sardonic, sometimes ironic, Phil Jackson. We even transcribe the entire exchange — as our Elliott Teaford did this afternoon in his blog post on Phil’s comments about Pau Gasol’s hamstring injury — so readers can judge for themselves.

And yet, somehow as the story gets repeated and repackaged by other media, all that context and any disclaimer we’d put about just how serious Jackson was being, goes out the window.

Apparently it got so confusing, some people called Lakers spokesman John Black for a clarification, to which Black said Jackson was joking and that Gasol was “day-to-day,” which is basically a catch-all phrase to describe an injury that has no timetable for a return.

What’s frustrating is that nothing Jackson said was incorrect. He was merely trying to convey the sense of frustration and mystery surrounding Gasol’s injury. I believe that is what all the reporters who were at practice took from it, and later wrote in their stories. But sometimes, in an effort to draw out the one-line news nugget of a story, subtlety and context gets lost.

Here’s what I later wrote in the news story about the situation, “After giving daily updates and forecasts about when All-Star forward Pau Gasol and his stubborn right hamstring might finally be fit enough to play, Lakers coach Phil Jackson teasingly said Wednesday that Gasol might not play until Christmas.

“Just how much Jackson might’ve been teasing – or needling Gasol – with that comment is unclear. For his part, the Spaniard said he wanted to have at least two days of pain-free running on a treadmill and at least a couple of pain-free practices before returning to action, which roughly translates to at least another 1-2 weeks out of action.”

I think that’s rather clear. The Lakers don’t know how long Gasol is going to be out. Gasol doesn’t know how long he’s going to be out. It’s silly to try and predict anymore, because the injury is a bit mysterious.

Is there a chance Gasol will be out until Christmas? Sure. Is it likely? No.

Though he admitted that this time around he would be “extra patient,” Gasol seemed to be thinking in the 1-2 week timeframe. Any setbacks could push that longer.

Then again, if it takes this long to explain the situation, maybe Black was right to just call it “day-to-day” and be done with it.

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