NBA Team Physician of the Year?

Dr Horrible

According to, Bulls team physician Brian Cole has been named the 2009 NBA Team Physician of the Year. The award is based on voting by the National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association (NBATA). Said John Paxson: “The Bulls organization is proud of our association with Dr. Brian Cole and this award recognizes what we have been keenly aware of the last five years. Brian is an outstanding doctor who cares about our players and works extremely hard to give them the best care possible. The entire Chicago Bulls organization congratulates Brian and thanks him for his dedication.”

Huh. Back in February, Drew Gooden was so concerned his groin pull/abdominal strain had been misdiagnosed that he sought the opinion of another specialist. Furthermore, it sure seems like sombody whiffed hard on identifying Luol Deng’s stress fracture. As Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune noted, that initial diagnosis — and the statement that accompanied it — basically made Luol look like a wimp and a quitter…only Deng was really (and seriously) injured. I mean, the Bulls told Deng to “challenge himself physically,” but then an independent orthopedic surgeon — someone with extensive knowledge of stress fractures of the lower leg — told him to actively avoid putting weight on his leg. And, of course, as we all know, Luol never played again last season.

And now Cole is the NBA Team Physician of the Year. Weird.

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30 Responses to NBA Team Physician of the Year?

    Scott G. June 3, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    Is this really that much of a surprise?

    I mean, Mike Brown was the Coach of the Year, and he was just pants’d by my college student loan officer.

    Czernobog June 3, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    COY is determined by the media, this award is determined by health professionals, not exactly comparable.

    I guess they think his incorrect diagnosis regarding Deng was a reasonable mistake given the findings.

    Either that or it’s all a matter of internal politics.

    Loop June 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm #

    Well come on, did you see how well he brought towels out to the team after time outs?

    The NBA: where obscure awards happen.

    Josh June 3, 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    I didn’t even know they had this award…Do they give out awards for Best Luvabull? My vote: Any blonde.

    BadDave June 3, 2009 at 7:50 pm #

    Maybe he should use an ice ray on those joints. Oh wait – that’s too Johnny Snow.

    Samthe man June 3, 2009 at 9:04 pm #

    Hey Matt,
    your little blog column is totally a joke. It is a self-serving way to berate people you will never be as successful as.

    Dr. Malick June 3, 2009 at 11:07 pm #

    Dear Matt McHale,
    My name is Dr. Malick. I perform shoulder and knee procedures in the Chicagoland area. You are an uneducated and very mis-informed gentleman. This doctor, Dr. Brian Cole is the highest regarded knee specialist in the country. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT.
    Dr. Malick
    Bone Specialist
    Ethan-Adam medical group

    Bob June 3, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    Dr. Brian Cole is the most respected Doctor in the NBA. I am an NBA ortho myself. I read this web site and wonder what your IQ must be. Do some more Research and then you can “retract” this idiotic column you write.

    Matt McHale June 3, 2009 at 11:21 pm #

    Lupe — Thanks for your refreshing insight. Good luck in life!

    Sam — See above.

    Dr. Malick — What facts do I need to get straight? What have I misstated? I didn’t impugn Dr. Cole’s education or credentials. I didn’t call him a quack. I noted that their were two very public situations involving the medical treatment of two members of a team that is under his care…both of which were negative. I then further noted that it is odd then that he was named the best team physician in the league. These are verifiable situations. I even provided links to news stories about them. If you have facts that I don’t, or additional information that’s on the public record that I did not cite, then please, by all means, provide that info with my blessing. Otherwise insulting me and telling me to get my facts straight seems like a pretty empty statement.

    Bob — I’m not sure it’s even possible to quantify something like “most respected doctor in the NBA.” Is it? If so, could you please provide some hard data to that effect, because I’d be very interested in reading it. And I will issue the same request to you that I did to Dr. Malick — If you see a flaw in my reasoning, something specific other than that you disagree with me, please point it out and provide some proof other than your subjective feelings.

    Put it this way, imagine your child went to a school, and at that school there was a teacher who was involved in a couple situations, one of which was a student who publically decried his teaching methods and another where a student failed a test that teacher was charged to prepare him for. Then you find out that the teacher was named Teacher of the Year. Wouldn’t you find that odd?

    Chris June 4, 2009 at 4:29 am #

    Hey Matt, just so you know, Dr. Malick single-handedly DESTROYED my knee! I needed a fairly common form of arthroscopic knee surgery and he showed up DRUNK and attached (via rubber band) a wet, moldy hot dog to my ligaments. My knee got gangrene (do a google image search) and “Dr.” Malick received probation. You haven’t seen the last of me Malick, you son of a bitch quack. F YOU. -Chris in Chicago

    Czernobog June 4, 2009 at 10:52 am #

    Strange that a post about Dr. Cole of all things would bring the trolls out in force.

    Matt McHale June 4, 2009 at 12:36 pm #

    A quick note to the poster with the e-mail address I approve and disapprove all comments that appear on this site, so SPAMing and posing as other commenters won’t accomplish anything. Just FYI.

  13. Steve June 4, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    At the very least this blog post provides a fair question that perhaps some of the angry insiders may be able to answer. What determines the physician of the year? Is it the reputation and the overall body of work by the doctor in his career? Or is it the work that doctor did in a given year?

    Maybe Dr. Cole is like Kobe Bryant last year. Lebron had a better season, but Kobe was the best player who had not won an MVP award yet so he was due.

    Bob Malick June 4, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    I just don’t understand the need to even analyze this. You are using the power of the web to perpetuate negativity. I don’t argue with your right to freedom of speech I just have a hard time understanding why people choose to USE your freedom of speech to go out of your way to write about something that the average basketball fan could care less about. I wonder, I assume you are a Bulls After all, you chose to create a web “blog” type page that seems to indicate you are. More importantly, if you are a fan, which I also assume you are, Why choose to talk negative about the team doctor instead of celebrating his achievements? Do you have some personal vendetta with this Doctor? You seem to also want to include other journalist’s past negative comments that have been shared in the Chicago local paper regarding his treatment and care of Deng. I don’t understand when you can write about the great season the Bulls had or some positive human interest story regarding one of the players and possibly some philanthropic endeavors relating to the players, why you choose to try and disgrace Dr. Cole. Maybe HE has children that will see your site…did you ever think of that? Isn’t Dr. Cole also considered part of the team? I also take offence to your comment regarding, “verifiable situations”. Come on..I assume you are smart enough to understand this process of choosing a “Top NBA Doctor” has nothing whatsoever to do with anything more than the majority opinion of people who can MEASURE and understand the barometers necessary to make a qualified choice. It has nothing to do with a one-sided journalists accounting of how Dr. Cole handled Mr. Deng’s injury. Obviously, there is not, “hard data” to support the choice. It was the opinion of people who were qualified to choose that you chose to challenge. The issue of whether or not Dr. Cole’s educational credentials or whether he is “capable” and “the best” is not at all in question. We know obviously the Bulls and by the way, the White Sox are not fly-by-night organizations who loosley pick team doctors very similar the way you come home from your meaningless job and decide whether or not to eat a Ho-HO or a Ding Dong as a snack while you take your pants off and sit in your underware for ten hours and surf the web for negative things to say about individuals involved with the Bulls organization. The very team I assume your web site is supporting. Another issue going back to journalists such as yourself; you choose to quote and reference another Chicago journalist, Mr. Morrissey who also seems to have only one side of the story by analyzing a quote from a qualified doctor while “spinning” the story in a negative light. So, you subsequently choose to perpetuate the negativity by now LOOKING for other negative things said about Dr. Cole. Believe me, before I sat down and wrote this, I did what any good journalist should do, look up the facts and do some research. I am not a journalist, just a doctor. So, I found some interesting things about Dr. Brian Cole. His reputation seems to run deep. His philanthropic endeavors as well as his crowning achievments in his field involving research and technology in tissue, cartilage and (no pun intended) cutting edge surgical procedures- all developments by the way which not only the common patient can benefit from but the terrific benefit of having him here in Chicago as the Bulls Doctor. No other doctors in the NBA can claim many of the things he has not only discovered in cartilage restoration, but is known as. the “Father” of Fresh osteochondral allograft transplantation. I know we agree that there are no “hard facts” to qualify someone as, “The Best” but lets face it Matt, there is only one, “Father” of a procedure. What have you done? What crowning achievments have you contributed to society except to take gratuitous shots at great men?
    I will leave you with that. Oh and by the way, your “teacher” example as you conclude your so-witty argument, Dr. Cole failed at nothing here, it is you and Mr. Morrissey’s journalistic OPINION that he failed. In your poor excuse of an example the child actually failed a test as many do. Who was to say in your example it was the teacher’s fault…another opinion open for conjecture. No, Mr. McHale, it is you that failed, you failed us all with this column. Now, I, Mr. McHale prefer the Ding Dong to the Ho-Ho so get to eating! I’ll see you in 10 hours when you wake up at your computer in your underware late for your day job which my guess includes the words, “Would you like to supersize that?”
    Dr. Malick

  15. AcidFiend June 4, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    Matt ignore these jokers, your blog is great. Can’t believe the Bulls told a player to harden up when he was really injured.

  16. Ryan M June 4, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    yes, i would find that odd. thanks for the post, i didn’t know too much of this info (especially that they picked a Team Physician of the Year). but i did know all about Deng’s injury problems. i too would like any info any of these disagreeing doctors could provide. but they didn’t provide any. huh. (again, great post).

    Bob Malick June 4, 2009 at 12:41 pm #

    Hi Matt,
    I’m sorry, my new found journalistic career as the blog fighting doctor here in Chicago failed to give my backup data as many of you do, here are some of Dr. Cole’s achievments, key words there, “some”:

    Chicago Magazine’s 2009 Top Doctors
    Register for the MOR Arthritis Seminar
    Dr. Cole Named NBA Team Physician of the Year
    Cartilage Transplants: New Hope for Damaged Knees
    ABC 7 Report: New Ways to Heal Knees
    Cartilage Transplants Offer New Hope
    MOR Surgeons Operate on Bulls’ Hinrich
    Team Physicians for the Chicago White Sox

    Let me know if you need some explaination or help with the big words used above, I’m a doctor and I’m impressed!!!! Maybe he will hire me when this recession hits my practice.

    Matt McHale June 4, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    “Dr.” Malick — I have to say, your long and rambling post really brightened my morning. It’s not often that someone purpoting to be a medical doctor comes to my blog and makes an absolute fool of himself. Thanks for that. And, in fact, I only approved that comment so it can act as a cautionary message for the rest of this site’s commenters: Don’t be like “Dr.” Malick. Honestly, I suggest that you take a few deep breaths, calm down and figure out how to correctly spell “underware.”

    As to your second comment, those accomplishments don’t really have any bearing on his performance in the two situations I cited in this post. But thanks for the book report.

    Finally, I welcome intelligent debate regarding the items that get posted here at By The Horns. I would like to put emphasis on the word “intelligent.” If you are indeed a doctor — which I highly doubt, by the way — I would assume that you could compose an intelligent retort that wasn’t 90 percent childish personal attacks. Unless you have an 7-year-old daughter you asked to do this for you…which would actually make a little sense out of the chaos you vomited forth above.

    So I’ll go ahead and make a deal with you: Post something meaningful and rational and I will happily continue this discussion. However, if you continue to type out mindless responses with your elbows, I’ll just delete ’em.

    BadDave June 4, 2009 at 1:44 pm #

    Whelp, Dr. Manlick convinced me. Dr. Cole for Commissioner Surgeon for the NBA!

    Josh June 4, 2009 at 4:19 pm #

    I still just want to know which Luvabull would get the award…

    John may play June 4, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    Hi Matt,
    Good column. The doctor who seems to be relentlessly trying to convince you that Dr. Cole is a great doctor has his points. Dr. Cole repaired my son’s knee, he works for Midwest Orthopedics. He is not only a kind and hard working doctor, he made it so my son can have a life again. Now, my son has just rec’d a full ride to U.N.L.V. and we owe it all to Dr. Cole. I know just by meeting him and trusting him with my son’s future and health. He also has an amazing practice, he is not just the Bulls and Sox Orthopod. He is really deserving of the honor. I saw him on my first occassion and felt comfortable right away. He, by the way, won another award! He was voted Chicago’s “hottest Doctor” on a local radio station! I know that has NOTHING to do with anything but seriously, he is a great man and the Bulls should be honored to have him as their team Doc. I too know what happened with Deng and Gooden and agreee with the “GREAT DR. MALICK”, unless we know all sides of the story, not just what Morrissy writes about, none of us can make a qualified opinion. By the way, I think The Great Doc Malick redeemed himself in his last post. And, to the total fool who posted the comments on Dr. Malick’s knee procedure he performed on Chris, that was obviously a joker. Take that post off, it goes against everything you don’t want here. I agree that Malick’s ravings were a little much but not as bad as I have seen on this site. Congratulations to Dr. Brian Cole!! You gave our son his life back!! And…hopefully a career in baseball. Matt, go meet him, I promise you that your view will change. He is a great man. My wife told me she would leave me for him in a second…haha. Thanks for keeping it real!
    John May

    Matt McHale June 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

    John — I have no doubt that Brian Cole is probably a fine man and a good doctor. Nowhere in the post or my comments have I suggested otherwise…only that I thought it was odd that he was voted NBA Team Physician of the Year when one of the Bulls players was misdiagnosed, and clearly did not trust the team’s diagnosis, which forced him to seek indepent consultation which resulted in the correct diagnosis. I’m not trying to crucify Dr. Cole for seemingly making a mistake — after all, Deng suffered a tibia fracture, which apparently isn’t Cole’s area of expertise — only that it makes this particular award for this particular season look a little strange. And that’s pretty much where my statements ended. The confusion seems to have arisen from Bob Malick’s spurious belief that my point was actually that Cole is a lousy doctor and a terrible person. And I certainly never said that, nor did I imply that in any way. I feel that should be pretty obvious.

    Matt McHale June 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    Mr. Malick — So you posted another comment, and it was, surprisingly enough, fairly reasonable. Here’s the problem: In it you say: “As the last post from Bullnumberonefan, thank you for at least some support.”

    What you might not realize is that comments do not appear on this site until I approve them. However, the comments DO appear for the person who posted them BEFORE they have been officially approved. Since I had not approved the comment posted by “Bullnumberonefan” (and thus the message was not viewable to everyone) and yet YOU could see it, that tells me that either you have amazing and untold psychic abilities…or you posted it under the guise of “Bullnumberonefan.”

    In fact, yesterday I received a comment from someone asking why I had “removed” a comment from you…but the reality is I hadn’t removed anything. I just hadn’t approved it yet, and thus it could not be viewed except by the person who posted it (and it would “disappear” for that person once they closed their Web browser or navigated to another page). I must assume, then, that the only person who could have possibly thought that the comment was “removed” would be its author, not some other “concerned fan.” All of which brings me to this question: Posting under multiple identities to support yourself is kind of silly, don’t you think?

    Also, as the site moderator, I get to see the e-mail addresses entered by the people who comment. It’s a security measure. And I couldn’t help but notice that you have used multiple e-mail addresses on your posts…which once again makes me question the validity of your identity and, indeed, your motivation for commenting here.

    Again, I invite intelligent debate and discussion. But I can’t approve of or allow posting under multiple identities.

    AK Dave June 4, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    “Dr.” Bob Malick-

    A google search comes up with no matching results for your name. Even my lowly family no-name doctor’s name shows up when a google search is performed. I’m calling shenanigans. Not to mention the fact that a real doctor wouldn’t give 2 shits about what is said on a weblog.

    lol is you

    Clearly, Deng’s situation was a bumble. Good people screw up all the time. I’m sure the good Dr. Cole is a fine human being- but he totally biffed that one. It’s cool- the best doctors in the world make mistakes.

    They just typically don’t get awards for doing so. Remove the bunches from your panties. This blog doesn’t insult anyone, let alone Dr. Cole.

    Rick June 4, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    This is regarding AK Dave’s post.. I agree that possibly misdiagnosis situations occur all the time. In fact, why does it surprise anyone that any serious injury no matter who the primary doctor is, needs a second opinion, especially when it
    is detrimental to a career such as a professional ball player. Why
    did you assume it was a misdiagnosis and not just a routine
    second opinion? Further, why does this mean Dr. Cole should not
    be deserving of this award. You actually do Dr. Cole a diservice by questioning his deserving of that award. Did you ever try and find out how Mr. Deng feels about the situation? It sure doesn’t sound like he is
    Blaming him.
    felt about it?

    Czernobog June 4, 2009 at 8:11 pm #

    Dave, you don’t need google to figure out that this guy isn’t a real doctor, just a rudimentary grasp of English grammar.

    Anyway, this may have been the most entertaining blog post+comments thread I’ve read since this one:

  27. david g June 7, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

    just because you question something the bulls do, doesn’t mean you aren’t a bulls fan. i think most intelligent readers don’t want to just read fluff pieces. i read this blog because even though Matt is a bulls fan, it doesn’t make him blind to some mistakes. great job handling this fool, Matt. thanks and keep up the great work


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