Schonely blends an economical, conservative style with an avuncular voice—the ideal match for a team that surely leads the league in silver-haired fans. Several of his pet phrases, like "lickety brindle up the middle" (describing a player driving through the paint unaccosted) and "bingo bango bongo" (a series of quick passes on a fast break), are decidedly unhip. No matter. At a time when many Oregonians are ambivalent about a team that is sometimes referred to as the Jail Blazers, Schonely is an endearing throwback.
Like Hearn, Schonely got his big break doing Armed Forces Radio broadcasts in the 1940s. From there he worked at a Seattle television station with an upstart named Keith Jackson and eventually called Pilots baseball games. When the club relocated to Milwaukee, Schonely stayed in the Pacific Northwest and signed with the Blazers. "Back then we had to beg stations to carry our games," he says.
Now the Blazers' radio network has 34 affiliates and a rabid listenership. "It's been a great run," says Schonely. "But I could go on behind the mike forever. If Chick can still do it, why can't I?"
—L. Jon Wertheim
Indiana's Guard Fights to Return
Pacers point guard Haywoode Workman should have retired. When he tore the ACL in his left knee in November 1996, the injury was so severe that it also ripped the cartilage away from the bone, creating a hole so large—the size of a silver dollar—that the usual procedures to correct a tear were not an option.
So Workman rehabbed from his ACL surgery and hoped the pain around the lesion would dissipate. He tried to participate in preseason training last October but wasn't healthy enough. Five months ago Workman aggravated the knee in workouts. He was done, wasn't he?
Team physician Sanford Kunkel wanted to try one last surgical option, a radical procedure that took cartilage from non-weight-bearing parts of the knee and plugged it into the lesion. Although Kunkel had performed the surgery a number of times on weekend athletes, his research revealed that no NBA player had ever undergone the operation. Workman, whose career had spanned six gritty seasons with Atlanta, Washington and Indiana, agreed to be the first. Says Kunkel, who performed the surgery last November, "If Haywoode can play again, I'll be as happy as him, or maybe even happier."
Workman spends his days training on a Stair Master and treadmill and lifting weights. He attends Pacers home games but finds the experience excruciating. "As much as the guys try to include me, I'm not part of it," Workman says. "I won't be until I can sweat and run up and down the floor with them."
Kunkel guesses that the odds of that ever happening are 50-50. The Pacers, who have begun to realize that Mark Jackson's backup, Travis Best, isn't a true point guard, would welcome Workman's return for what they hope will be a solid playoff run. "We could use him," says team president Donnie Walsh. "The kid is an animal."
Indiana hoped that Workman would return by March 1. That date has come and gone, but he remains optimistic that he can suit up this season. For the first time in almost two years, he has no pain, and he's doing light running and some shooting. If he can play pro basketball again, he will make medical history.