Robert Covington Gets Huge Splints Removed From Broken Nose
Easily lost amid widespread frustration and disappointment from the Trail Blazers' first-round loss to the Denver Nuggets was the impact of Robert Covington. In a series Portland never quite managed to sustain extended stretches of two-way rhythm, he was arguably the departed Terry Stotts' most consistent offense-defense performer.
Covington's 15 combined steals and blocks against Denver led the Blazers by a wide margin, as did his 21 deflections. Portland's defensive rating with him on the floor was second-best on the team behind Jusuf Nurkic. Covington also shot 11-of-22 from beyond the arc, and even made 50 percent of his two-point attempts.
Clearly, Covington's impact in the first round went far beyond his unspectacular box-score numbers of 9.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Just imagine the difference he'd have been capable of making, then, if Covington wasn't playing with a pair of several-inch splints inside his broken nose.
On Friday, Covington posted semi-graphic photos of the Doyle Splints that had seemingly been up his nose for almost the entirety of his debut season in Portland. His Instagram story was captured by Twitter user @diddamedunk.
Covington elected against corrective surgery after colliding with Julius Randle in Portland's win over the New York Knicks on January 24, instead opting to wear a mask for the season's remainder to minimize his time away from the court.
It's not clear exactly when doctors put the splints in Covington's nose, but it doesn't really matter. He obviously played the vast majority of 2020-21 not just wearing a mask to protect his broken nose, but with plastic inserts up each nostril – not exactly optimal for playing basketball at its highest level.
The Blazers are facing a crossroads this offseason, with uncertainty spanning from everything to who will be roaming the sidelines as head coach to the specter of a potential franchise sale. One of the aspects Portland can count on entering next season? That Covington will give his absolute all every time he takes the floor, silicone splints stuffed up his nose or otherwise.