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Francisco Garcia's Ball Pops, Causes Broken Arm and a 4-Month Absence

Oct 10, 2009 – 4:50 PM
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Tom Ziller

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The Kings, as the myths go, are cursed. There's a tale locally that ARCO Arena was built on an Indian burial ground, but the same could probably be said for any number of Costcos or housing developments in the area and you don't see stuff like this happened to anyone outside the Purple and White jerseys.

By "stuff like this," of course, I mean "wrist fractures when the exercise ball you're lifting weights on explodes." That's what will cause Kings wing Francisco Garcia to miss the next four months of action.

The first word Friday had Garcia with a fractured arm after a weightlifting mishap. Then the Kings reported that there was an equipment failure. And then it went public that the equipment which malfunctioned was an exercise ball. Garcia had been lifting hand weights (with a spotter, the Kings insist) while laying on the exercise ball. You see this commonly at civilian gyms -- balancing on the ball helps keep the core muscles of the midsection tense during the lifts.

But there's a secret danger, as Garcia has learned. Eddy Curry had a similar experience last fall, though the Knick's situation could be termed "user error" as Curry's ball popped as soon as he sat on it. Curry suffered only a scrape. Garcia was not so lucky.

There's no word on whether Garcia's ball was properly inflated, how old it was, or whether the Kings will investigate legal action against the (heretofore unknown) manufacturer. Garcia's $30-million, five-year contract goes into effect this season. Garcia missed a portion of last season with a torn wrist ligament. He also broke his finger late in the season, but played through the injury. He then re-aggravated the finger injury during the FIBA Americas Championship in August, causing Garcia to miss two vital games for his Dominican Republic team. The D.R. just missed out on qualifying for the 2010 FIBA World Championships.

Garcia has started at small forward in both of Sacramento's preseason games, and was expected to compete with Desmond Mason for the job in the regular season. With this injury, it seems likely that Mason will be the starter, with Andres Nocioni backing up both forward positions and either Omri Casspi and Donte Greene rounding out the small forward rotation. Garcia had also been considered the primary back-up for shooting guard Kevin Martin. You can expect some double point guard line-ups with Beno Udrih and rookie starter Tyreke Evans in Garcia's stead.

Garcia is the team's best deep threat other than Martin, and a valuable ball-handler. Garcia's point guard skills (which he displayed in a Final Four run for Louisville in 2005) would have been particularly helpful for Evans, who has a lot on his plate this season.

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NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 10: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks in front of Marcus Thornton #5 New Orleans Hornets during a pre-season game on October 10, 2009 at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Russell Westbrook;Marcus Thornton
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