There was enough disappointment to go around on Saturday night, as the homecoming of Anthony Davis had to be put on hold.
But in expressing how upset he was that the former Perspectives Charter High School standout couldn’t make the trip to Chicago because of concussion-like symptoms, New Orleans coach Monty Williams took a huge swipe at the new NBA concussion rules, stating that the league might as well put their players in “white gloves and pink drawers.”
Davis, who was the No. 1 pick overall after winning a National Championship at Kentucky last season, suffered a blow to the head with 4:41 left in the first half of Friday night’s eventual win over Utah. He was diagnosed with a mild concussion, which meant he couldn’t fly and make the trip.
A protocol that was obviously not sitting well with Williams.
“You just do what you got to do,” the coach explained. “We have no idea when he’s going to be back. It’s one of those situations where the NBA, the doctors and the medical staff feel like there’s a protocol that has to take place before guys can get back on the floor, so the better he feels the next couple of days it helps the situation, but when you’re dealing with the brain, I guess what’s happening in football has impacted everybody.
“He got touched up a little bit [Friday] night, and I’m sure that happens a lot in basketball. It’s just that now you treat everybody like they have on white gloves and pink drawers. It’s just getting old, but that’s just the way the league is now.”
Williams was asked about the disappointment Davis expressed in not being able to play in front of friends and family at the United Center, and again took another jab at the Association.
“Obviously he wants to play every game,” Williams said. “I’m sure he has a lot of people here that want to see him play. This city should be proud of who he is, not just as a player, but as a person. I could tell he was down he couldn’t come [Friday] night. And it wasn’t any fault of his own, he wanted to come, but the rules say you can’t fly, and again, it’s a man’s game and we’re treating this guys like they’re five years old. He definitely wanted to come, but he couldn’t make it.”
Davis averaged 14.9 points per game through the preseason, and then put up 21 points and had seven rebounds in his regular-season debut. He had scored eight points before getting knocked out of the Utah game.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau had been watching Davis on film, and was more than just a little impressed with the 6-foot-10 rookie.
“Amazing,” Thibodeau said. “Really skilled player, he’s a basketball player. He does everything. He’s going to be a great pro.”