Iverson Coach Speaks; Retirement Now On Hold?

Speculation in Eurasia abounds today about the future playing status of Allen Iverson, who is currently a member of the Besiktas Cola club team in the Turkish Basketball League.

Allen Iverson in Turkey

(Australian Rules Hoops Anyone?)

Initial reports yesterday out of Turkey indicated that Iverson, who is averaging 14 points and five assists-per-game for Besiktas Cola, may have suffered a career-ending leg injury. The Turkish sports website ajansspor.com reported Wednesday morning that Iverson had planned a press conference today to announce his retirement. But as of 9:30 pm local time in Istanbul, no announcement appeared to be forthcoming.

After the ajanssport.com report, Besiktas Cola Coach Ergin Ataman confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Iverson has a calf injury that may require surgery, from which Iverson could be back in six-to-eight weeks. (Including playoffs, the TBL schedule stretches to mid-June.)

Iverson coach Ataman’s translated quote:

In front of us there are two options. surgical, long-term treatment with surgery or wait to apply it to respond option. In this case, a separation process that will be 6-8 weeks.

Ataman also disputed talk of Iverson having his own American doctor make the final diagnosis on his injured leg: “Such information did not come to me. … (The) Club Board of Health will decide it (how to proceed in treating Iverson’s injury).

Again, those comments from Ataman were made several hours after the ajanssport.com report of Iverson’s imminent retirement.

Also interesting to note that news of Iverson’s injury comes less than a week after Besiktas Cola, mired in ninth place in the 16-team TBL, fired coach Burak Biyiktay and hired Ataman.

Perhaps Iverson’s injury situation is absolutely legitimate, but it isn’t unreasonable to think that the coaching change - or the Turkish lifestyle - might now be wearing as thin on the ex-NBA great as his aching joints.