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Wince No More

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When Vince Carter left the game Monday night with a strained muscle in his back, the litany began again: Vince Carter is not durable...he is "Wince" Carter, a player who is not willing to play through pain and would rather sit. It was, according to Chris Broussard, due to his lack of love for the game. Broussard was willing to make his assessment even before Carter went to the bench in civvies.

But the reality is, as usual, different from what sports writers perceive. Carter over the last two plus years has been one of the league's most durable stars, getting on the court in 160 games, more than, in order of best to worst, Tracy McGrady, Dwayne Wade, Tim Duncan, Gilbert Arenas, Ray Allen, Jason Kidd, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson. And that doesn't count the two bad boys of the Basketbrawl: Jermaine O'Neal and Ron Artest who while durable could stay on the court in more ways than one last year. Of course, there are the league ironmen, like Stephon Marbury, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, Lebron James, and Carmelo Anthony. Still, as that list shows, Carter is no slouch and is well inside the upper levels of NBA durability.

Here is a summary of the players mentioned, the combined number of games they have played in the past two years and a breakdown by season:

Artest: 89
2003-04 - 73
2004-05 - 7
2005-06 - 9

J. O'Neal: 131
2003-04 - 78
2004-05 - 44
2005-06 - 9

Iverson: 135
2003-04 - 48
2004-05 - 75
2005-06 - 12

Bryant: 141
2003-04 - 65
2004-05 - 66
2005-06 - 10

O'Neal: 142
2003-04 - 67
2004-05 - 73
2005-06 - 2

Kidd: 143
2003-04 - 67
2004-05 - 66
2005-06 - 10

Allen: 144
2003-04 - 56
2004-05 - 78
2005-06 - 10

Arenas: 144
2003-04 - 55
2004-05 - 80
2005-06 - 9

Duncan: 146
2003-04 - 69
2004-05 - 66
2005-06 - 11

Wade: 148
2003-04 - 61
2004-05 - 77
2005-06 - 10

McGrady: 151
2003-04 - 67
2004-05 - 78
2005-06 - 6

Carter: 160
2003-04 - 73
2004-05 - 77
2005-06 - 10