Baylor's knees have been X-rayed nearly a hundred times, and there appears to be nothing wrong organically. The pain is caused by three small bits of calcium above each kneecap. "It is possible," says Lou Mohs, the Laker general manager, "that they might dissolve just through exercise." An operation to remove them would take Baylor out of action for about six weeks, and the Lakers need him, even at three-quarter strength.
The secret of success
Four of the Boston Celtics also have knee troubles—John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, Bill Russell and Frank Ramsey. Two others, Jim Loscutoff and Johnny McCarthy, have had their knees operated on for the removal of cartilage. Such injuries, while not as prevalent as they are in football, are caused by the fast starts and stops and rapid lateral and backward movements players are required to make in basketball, to say nothing of the constant jumping.
Auerbach refuses to discuss the methods Boston uses in treating players. "I don't want to give away any secrets," he says. Buddy LeRoux, the Celtic trainer, dismisses the new types of knee braces that come out every year. The best, he claims, is "the Duke Simpson." Years ago a trainer by that name traveled around the country and taught others how to tape knees. He charged them $25. It takes 30 to 40 minutes to apply a Simpson job, and it requires a roll and a half of tape. "It goes from about halfway up the calf to halfway up the thigh," says LeRoux. "If a player gets knocked down he has to roll over before he starts to get up. It's bothersome, but it works."
This looks like a big year for Duke Simpson, wherever he is.