Tagged in: health concerns

Giants OT Nate Solder opts out, cites family’s health concerns

New York Giants offensive tackle Nate Solder stated Wednesday he’s opting out of the 2020 NFL season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our family has health concerns, most notably our son’s ongoing battle with cancer, as well as my own bout with cancer,” Solder said in a Twitter post. “We also welcomed a new addition to our family this spring, a baby boy. With fear and trembling, we struggle to keep our priorities in order and, for us, our children’s health and the health of our neighbors comes before football.”

Giants general manager Dave Gettleman voiced his support for Solder’s decision. “We have great respect for Nate as a person and player,” he said in a statement on the team’s official site. “When he called today, I told him it is faith, family and football. He is doing what’s best for his family.”

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Solder and his wife, Lexi, welcomed their son Hudson in July 2015.

He was diagnosed with kidney cancer that October, and the disease has persisted over the years.

According to NJ Advance Media’s Matt Lombardo, Solder could qualify as “high risk” in the eyes of the NFL. That would allow him to obtain a $350,000 salary advance instead of $150,000 for a standard voluntary opt-out. Any player who opts out will have his contract toll as well.

Solder’s absence will likely mean 2020 first-round draft pick Andrew Thomas will be the Giants’ starting left tackle. New York selected Thomas fourth overall in April, and he was tentatively slated to start on the right opposite Solder.

Now, the former Georgia star will have to play a crucial role in protecting quarterback Daniel Jones’ blind side, leaving the team in need of a new right tackle. Having signed a one-year contract with the team in March, Cam Fleming would be the logical substitute.

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Pacers’ Oladipo to sit out restart of NBA season

Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo has decided not to play when the 2019-20 NBA season resumes at Disney World in Orlando later this month. Oladipo tore his quad tendon last season, and made his return in late January, just about six weeks before play was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result of his health situation, Oladipo told The Athletic in an interview that he just doesn’t feel comfortable returning to play under these circumstances. However, he will still travel with the team. 

The good news is that this isn’t the result of any sort of setback during the quarantine. Both Oladipo and the Pacers consider he is healthy and progressing well, they just think returning to play under these stressful and unique conditions is not worth the risk. Especially considering that players who suffer the same injury as Oladipo are more susceptible to soft tissue injuries in the ensuing years. 

“This kind of injury takes a while to get back from,” Oladipo’s physical therapist said. “This is a very rare injury. He’s playing this smart and we look at it as: He came back, he got into rotation, he got a feel for the game and his knee really responded well — and we had to shut this whole thing down from the pandemic. We haven’t been able to play five-on-five yet due to circumstances. Now we’re asking guys to ramp up in 21 days. That’s just a real short time window for a person with his kind of injury.”

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Heading into Orlando, there are all sorts of health concerns, mostly related to the coronavirus pandemic — and for good reason, as cases are surging, and we still don’t fully understand the long-term effects of the illness. However, the potential for augmented risk of injuries is a serious issue as well. 

Most players were not able to train like they normally do over the past few months, and will now be required to ramp up into a training camp situation, then high-intensity games in a rather short amount of time. For guys like Oladipo who are already dealing with the effects of a serious injury, it makes sense to take the long-term approach. 

From a basketball perspective, this is obviously a big hit to the Pacers’ probabilities of making some noise in the East.

They were actually a bit worse with Oladipo on the court (minus-2.6 net rating differential) in the 13 games since he returned, and he hadn’t quite found his rhythm. But that was a small sample size after he just returned from a year off, and he’s by far their most talented player. 

Now, they’ll have to play in Orlando without him. Heading into the restart they are tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for fifth place in the Eastern Conference at 39-26, and while they are still within striking distance of the Miami Heat for the fourth seed, getting there doesn’t matter as much with no homecourt advantage anymore. 

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