jr-smith-steak-n-shake-hat

We all know that this postseason has been marred by injuries, which sucks, but the weirder thing is how players from coast to coast have been getting sick during these playoffs. Luol Deng had a spinal tap, Nate Robinson was throwing up on the sidelines and I am sure there are some non-Bulls in there too, but those guys are pretty notable re: illness.

Two such guys are J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin, both of whom are New York Knicks and both of whom are battling sickness with a huge Game 4 coming up tonight. And that’s exactly why this report from Monday night is so funny. From the New York Post:

J.R. Smith missed practice again yesterday and was called “a game-time decision’’ by coach Mike Woodson. But there’s good news on Smith’s health as he was spotted Sunday at about 10:30 p.m. at Steak N Shake.

Smith was seen at the downtown Indianapolis landmark with his brother Chris Smith and Knicks forward James White, who will be deactivated tonight.

Smith was holding a bag of food.

Oh snap — J.R. Smith was caught eating food! Can you even believe it? On the night before a playoff game, no less. Inconceivable.

But wait, there’s a double oh snap coming, because that smoking gun bag of food might have brought him back to life. From Newsday’s Alan Hahn:

Smith and Martin stayed away from the team on Monday while battling a virus but were back on the court for Tuesday’s morning shoot-around. Woodson on Monday said Smith “could be a game-time decision” while Martin’s illness is “not as severe, but he’s headed in that direction.”

Both said they plan to play tonight.

If I’m Steak ‘n Shake’s marketing team, I am finding the biggest whiteboard I can and starting to jot down slogans, because this situation is a gold mine. They could go with “Burgers so good you won’t be sick any more” or “Steak ‘n Shake — we’ll get you healthy” or “Steakburgers, because you wouldn’t want to miss shootaround” or “You tryin’ to get the Steakburger?” or “Sixth Man, burger fan” with J.R. Smith’s face popping up around a burger while he poses or like a million other things that are silly because an NBA player was eating a sloppy burger at a casual dining establishment the night before a game when he was sick.

Of course, the real key will be seeing if he can improve on his 11-42 shooting (3-16 from three) through the first three games against the Pacers. If he throws up another stinker, it won’t matter how many ways he took his chili. I mean, Steak n’ Shake can take you pretty far in life, but those thin, smashed patties and those thin, salty fries aren’t a guarantee of playoff success, otherwise I would own several championship rings. It’s like that old saying — “You can lead a J.R. Smith to Steak n’ Shake, but you can’t make his shots go in.”

(Side note: No reports on what Kenyon Martin had to eat last night. Probably Cracker Barrel.)