JFK, Area 51, Anthony Mason Jr.

Tim SullivanContributor IOctober 25, 2009

s we learned earlier this week, Anthony Mason has once again been cursed by the gods and is injured. Mason apparently pulled a hamstring during a recent practice, reaggravating a preexisting condition with his leg. Mase is expected to be out of commission for 4-6 weeks, which seems like an awfully long time to be on the mend for a hamstring pull. My suspicions, misguided as they usually are, were immediately raised. I was looking for the slightest hint of sedition to back my admittedly inconclusive thoughts of conspiracy.

Which brings me to this tweet from Johnny Jungle, an observation on Mason’s condition during yesterday’s Stormfest at Taffner Field House:

Mase was walking around without a limp. So I’m not sure how severe his hamstring injury really is.

Now, I’m not a doctor. In fact, my only medical experience involved selling some left over pain killers to a substitute teacher in eight grade (This technically qualifies for a medical license in South America, but I digress). However, the Internet is the gift that keeps on giving. Cursory interweb research indicates that Mason, who by all accounts is walking upright without the aid of crutches or a brace, probably experienced a Grade 1 hamstring pull. This type of injury takes approximately 2-3 weeks of recovery time.

Let’s quickly revisit last season for a second. Mason suffers a torn peroneal tendon in his right foot, ending his year after just the third game of the 2008-09 season.  Mason, a senior, was not guaranteed a medical redshirt for the upcoming season (although it was likely) and would have to wait until the summer to get an official ruling on the possibility of his prolonged eligibility.

Now, unfortunately, we must divert our attention away from irrefutable facts and take a blind leap into the world of speculation. Hypothetically speaking, let’s assume that between his injury and the summer, Mason became disenchanted with the whole rehabilitation process and life as a StJU student in particular. Frustrated by his circumstances, he no longer attends class and ends up academically ineligible to play basketball for the university. A moot point since he is physically unable to perform anyway. Following this train of thought, Mase doesn’t worry, as he can simply catch up academically over the summer — if he is granted another year of eligibility by the stuffed shirts at the NCAA home office.

Only, let’s say he doesn’t. For whatever reason, Mason doesn’t make up enough ground to become academically eligible for the current semester. Norm Roberts, whose hold on the program is already tenuous at best, doesn’t want to give his detractors any additional ammunition to undermine his chances at continued employment. In order to save face, Roberts creates the current narrative, whereby Mason will be out anywhere from four to six weeks, which is essentially two times the amount of time your average person (not a 23 year old division one basketball player) takes to recover.

So when is Mason expected to return to the lineup? Andy Katz’s “Daily Word” from Wednesday provides some clarity:

Roberts said Mason likely will be out for six weeks (if not longer) and doesn’t expect him to play against Duke in Durham, N.C., on Dec. 5 or against Georgia in the SEC-Big East Invitational at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 9. He said he was hopeful that Mason could play in the Holiday Festival at MSG on Dec. 20.

The fall semester exam schedule runs from December 14th to the 19th. So, if Mason was academically disqualified due to his academic record from last spring/summer, what’s the earliest he could become eligible? December 20th, the first game of the Holiday festival against Hofstra.