Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Brown holding oft-injured May out until he's in better shape
ESPN.com news services
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sean May feels he's in good enough shape to play. Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown thinks otherwise.
So there was May on the inactive list for the ninth straight game Tuesday as his frustration mounts in what's been another disappointing season for the oft-injured former first-round pick.
"It is stressful," May said before his team's 93-89 loss against New York. "I want to prove to this organization that I can help this team for the future. You can't do that in a suit. It's been tough because the prior three years I've been in suits. Now that I'm able to play, coach just doesn't feel like I can give him much right now. It stinks all in itself."
May, the 13th pick in the 2005 draft, played in only 58 games in his first three seasons because of his troublesome right knee. He missed all of last season after undergoing microfracture surgery, but began this season as the Bobcats' starting power forward.
But May lost his job after just one game because Brown said he wasn't fit. He was inactive for the next five games, and has seen limited time since. He's played in 16 of Charlotte's 32 games and is averaging only 4.3 points and 3.3 rebounds.
Speaking after a shootaround before Tuesday's game against New York, Brown hinted May won't see the court anytime soon.
"He's making progress, but I'm not going to play him," Brown said. "I told him last week that until I see he's able to run up and down the court and be fit enough to play without having him struggle. I haven't seen that."
May disagrees. He feels he's in much better shape and capable of playing 6-7 minute stretches before being taken out. May did have one solid game earlier this month, scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in 27 minutes in a win over Oklahoma City.
"I felt like right before I was deactivated I started to do things I hadn't been doing prior," May said. "I was driving the ball. I was able to go after balls that I didn't have the confidence to before. It's just a trust thing with my knee. Then I get deactivated and now I have to start back at square one."
May is not the only former first-round pick to see little playing time under Brown, in his first season in Charlotte. Adam Morrison, the No. 3 pick in the 2006 draft, hadn't played in four of the past six games before Tuesday.
But May's situation is more tenuous. He's in the final year of his rookie contract and would appear to have little trade value. He said he's struggled some with tendinitis in his knee, but said overall pain is not the issue.
"That's what they see sometimes, that I favor it," May said of the knee. "But it's going to be like that for a while until I'm able to get it back stronger and gain some confidence. But the knee feels good. I feel like I can contribute. But it's not up to me."
Brown said he planned to revisit May's status soon.
"We talked last week and he just said he wants to see me move better," May said. "He wants to see me play better and he's not going to put me out there in a bad situation. He just said in the near future. That was a week ago.
"I'm just trying not to get discouraged. It's tough, but I've been through worse."
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.