Rudy Gobert still isn’t happy with Dion Waiters.
Not only did the Miami Heat guard collide with his right knee, an incident that will cost the big man four to six weeks of basketball, but he sounded less than sympathetic afterward, telling reporters, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
“I’ve never been a dirty player in my life,” Waiters said. “I went for the ball. Tell him to get out of his feelings and that’s what it is, just like that.”
As noted previously, this is a weird thing to say after the fact. Shit happens in the NBA, but a little more decorum from Waiters would have been beneficial to the optics. Then again, he’s being accused of dirty play. You can understand why his first instinct would be to get super defensive.
At any rate, Gobert isn’t taking the higher road in this sage. He responded to Waiters’ “feelings” jab, per the Associated Press (via NBC Sports):
“It’s not my feelings, it’s my knee,” Gobert said Monday. “That’s a little more important.
“I like to play basketball. Sometimes if someone takes that away from you, you’ve got to get in your feelings for a reason.”
Another fair response. Gobert is pissed he cannot be on the court, as he should be. The Utah Jazz are essentially nothing without him these days. Their offense is painful to watch, an equal-opportunity attack bogged down by a relative absence of from-scratch shot-makers and go-to options. Winning slog-it-out affairs with their defense is about the only hope they have of keeping pace with the rest of the Western Conference’s playoff hopefuls. This four-to-six-week absence could torpedo those aspirations.
Plus, players tend to be emotional immediately after serious injuries. We know the Jazz think there was at least some malicious intent tied to Waiters’ dive, but Gobert himself needs time to digest and rehab before downplaying whatever role Waiters had, deliberate or accidental, in his latest setback.