SAN ANTONIO – As the longtime TV play-by-play announcer for the San Antonio Spurs, Bill Land is used to calling games when players play through pain or injury. He’s doing a bit of the same nowadays.
Land is recovering from a fall he suffered on Feb. 25 during the second leg of the Spurs' Rodeo Road Trip.
Land fractured his wrist and received lacerations on his forehead and nose.
“It was just a crazy fall,” Land said. “I was walking in New York and came across a little grated cover on the sidewalk, and going full speed, (I) faceplanted.”
Land was a block and a half from the team hotel, close enough to be assisted by hotel personnel, and later, by Spurs head athletic trainer Will Sevening.
He did not lose consciousness and said it could have been much worse.
“It was bleeding heavily, but once I got back to the hotel they helped clean me up a little bit and I realized I was going to be OK,” Land said.
Land was, however, transported to the hospital where doctors did a cat scan, X-rayed his wrist and called a plastic surgeon due to the irregularity of the lacerations. Still, it never crossed Land’s mind to miss the game.
“At that time, I didn’t think that my wrist was fractured, it just felt sore or sprained,” Land said. “But the longer I sat in the hospital, I thought, 'Well, I don’t know if I am going to make it or not.'”
Land left the hospital around 5 p.m. with the game set to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. He got several key assists to make sure he was there in time for tipoff.
“I wasn’t feeling great, but I wasn’t feeling miserable. I just told Sean (Elliott), 'You’re finally going to have to earn your money,'” Land joked. “Crew was great because they took care of everything, and all I had to do was call the game.”
Land made it through the broadcast and had surgery on his wrist after the Spurs returned to San Antonio.
Land, who writes game notes prior to and during the telecast, said the surgeon made sure he could continue his Spurs play-by-play duties without missing a beat.
“Everything went fine,” Land said. “I get the cast off in two weeks. We start rehabbing. He fitted it so I’m still able to write.”
When news spread of Land’s fall and injury, he immediately began to receive messages of support and well wishes from colleagues and fans.
Since the Spurs returned home, people at the AT&T Center have also shared their support.
“It just warms your heart that people are so friendly and so concerned. Just a look of saying, 'Hey, I hope you are alright, we’re thinking about you.’ Just really makes you feel good,” Land said. “It shouldn’t surprise me because San Antonio is that kind of town, and Spurs fans have always been that way.”
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