To all of the Indiana Pacer fans waiting to see if a healthy Tyler Hansbrough can make your team better, I feel your pain.
As a fan of the North Carolina program, I am well-versed in the anticipation waiting game.
Last season, it seemed all the news was about a foot (Marcus Ginyard), a toe (Ty Lawson), or Tyler's now infamous shins.
For me, Tyler's problems have been more troubling, and at some level, a lot more disappointing.
There are a lot of people that hate Hansbrough, for a variety of different reasons, although they usually follow the same basic pattern.
It's either because he's perceived as goofy, overrated, having destroyed your team, or because he attended North Carolina.
During his career, the last two things go hand-in-hand, because while Tyler was at UNC, he made a habit of winning and winning often.
He was a multiple All-American, a Player-Of-The Year winner, National Champion, and the most prolific scorer in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Even after receiving those numerous accolades, Hansbrough's value as a pro is still heavily debated.
Most people feel he will be a marginal pro, at best, and a complete bust, at worst. Those same people should view his career path and then make informed conclusions.
Unless you are a UNC fan, your view of Hansbrough is probably the same, that he's a vastly overrated player who lacks in the skills department.
Whatever your thoughts on him may be, you can't deny that, for his entire career at UNC, he produced big numbers.
He was also a tireless worker, who was never afraid to throw his weight around, and he created as much contact as he received.
The fact that he was willing to learn showed up in his game, as his ball-handling skills improved, and he even developed a reliable 12-15 foot jumper.
His toughness and his selflessness proved to be his greatest assets, and in a cruel twist of fate, could prove to be his downfall.
The shin problem that Hansbrough is dealing with now is eerily similar to the one he had to deal with at UNC.
Roy Williams, who is a master at diversion, never made much of the injury and stated on many occasions that it was more of a preventative measure.
That claim was able to stand alone then, but now, with this new injury, a different perspective is warranted.
What if this is the beginning of a trend for Hanbrough? What if this proves to be a chronic injury, that he is unable to overcome?
It would be disappointing for the Pacers, and devastating for Tyler.
You see, Hansbrough has worked hard to prove his doubters wrong, and has always used their criticism as motivation.
It was easy for him to work to prove naysayers wrong about his game, but with his body, it's a whole different ballgame.
Your body could care less about what people say, when the body is defeated the soul is sure to follow.
Chronic injuries have claimed the careers of countless players in the NBA, and unfortunately for Hansbrough, most of them have been leg injuries.
What's really sad about Tyler is that in the preseason, he exhibited the same effort and dedication that he put into his career at UNC.
Once again, it showed up in his game, as he proved to be much more advanced than observers had given him credit for.
To have been able to conquer the societal demons and prove yourself at the NBA level, only to be felled by something entirely out of your control, is the cruelest thing of all.