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Old 03-03-10, 04:25 AM
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Bender Bending Rodriguez, Esq.
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FanHouse: Durant backs controversial Nike shoe

Durant Defends Detroit's Booted Shoe
3/02/2010 6:30 PM ET By Chris Sesno

Reports came out last week that Detroit Pistons' strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander banned the Nike Hyperize sneaker, claiming the shoe's lightweight technology provides insufficient ankle support and was to blame for a series of ankle and leg injuries.

Kevin Durant -- who is sponsored by Nike and no stranger to ankle injuries -- disagrees. Though the league's No. 2 scorer rocks his own signature Nike, the Zoom KD II, he came to the defense of his sponsor to divert the blame from the Hyperize.

"Ankle injuries can come from stepping on a guy's foot or coming down on somebody. Rarely does it happen when you're just running around on the court," said Durant. "And sometimes it doesn't matter what shoe you have on, so I don't think that's the issue. It just happens when you're playing."

The Pistons have suffered an unusually high number of ankle injuries this season, including Ben Gordon, Will Bynum and Richard Hamilton.

Hamilton is a Jordan Brand guy and doesn't wear the Hyperize, but enough was enough for Kander and the Pistons, so they gave the shoe the boot, so to speak. According to Detroit Free Press:

"I'm not going to name the brand of shoe it was, but it has been banned from our locker room and the guys aren't allowed to wear it," Kander said. "These shoes had taken most of the support out of the sides and it was a lighter shoe. Most basketball shoes weigh between 1.4 and 1.7 pounds.

"These shoes were weighing 0.8 pounds, which was way too light as far as side support. Since we've banned the shoe, knock on wood, we haven't had any ankle sprains. Hopefully, the good Lord willing, we won't have any more and we can finish the season healthy and see what these guys can really do."
Kander is just doing his job, but at what point has it gone too far? Ball Don't Lie points out that the Pistons actually fine their players who don't tape their ankles.

That seems excessive. Preventing injuries is one thing, and I certainly understand that teams invest a lot of money in their players and want to do whatever it takes to keep them healthy and on the court. But fining players for not taping ankles? Banning shoes from use?

What's next, waiving players who get their ankles broken by a killer crossover?

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