http://www.detnews.com/2005/pistons/0504/07/F04-142451.htmPistons forward Carlos Delfino understands that his surgically-repaired right knee is virtually healed.
But getting that information to soak into his soul is a different matter.
Delfino, who is struggling to cope with the first major injury of his career, is learning that the human body can be fickle. An injury can physically heal, but fear can linger in the psyche of an athlete.
"I am trying to trust, I am trying not to think about it when I play, but sometimes it is difficult," Delfino said. "You sometimes worry if something will happen, will I get hurt again? All I can do is keep playing, and because I am playing, it makes me feel more confident. I will trust more. But I do not like how much time it takes. It is hard to be patient."
Delfino has missed most of his rookie season because of the injury. He had the knee surgically scraped twice, trying to clean out the damage.
The good news is the surgeries did their job. The bad news is that recovering from the procedures has put Delfino significantly behind in his game conditioning and rookie development.
Coach Larry Brown hopes Delfino can be part of the Pistons' playoff rotation, but he's not making any definite plans.
"He's got a long way to go," Brown said. "A long way. Defensively, he's way behind. Conditioning, way behind. But the nice thing is they worked very hard (Monday and Tuesday in practice). The more opportunities these guys have playing in live conditions with a normal practice schedule, the better off they will be.
"But it's unfair, we've played so many games without any time to practice. So that impacts guys coming back from injuries."