For the second year in a row, Nenad Krstic was elected as the best Serbian player in a selection of the biggest Serbian sport daily "Sportski Zurnal". Krstic gave and interview for the special New Year edition of same newspaper.
Zurnal: An ordinary question when you’re starting some conversation is "How do you do?". When we made a call to Nenad Krstic, answering that question took some time. He was talking about compressor, muscle stimulator, therapies, crutches, bump, about an operation in Manhattan on 10th January…
Krstic: Otherwise, I am feeling good…
Zurnal: Man’s spirit is always harder to break. His voice sounded sleepy, even though he was awake for 2 hours.
Krstic: During last 7 days, I had lot of time for sleeping, but that was not my habit before. The more time you spend in bed, you feel sleepier.
Zurnal: Because of a hard knee injury on 22nd December against L.A. Lakers, this season is over for Nenad Krstic. To make him just a little bit sunny, we told him that he was elected as the best Serbian player, second time in a row.
Krstic: It’s always my pleasure when I heard that people appreciate what I achieved until now. That’s a huge encouragement in a difficult moment, but also an obligation to be even better when my rehabilitation ends. I thought that my chances for this prize this year will be much lower because I didn’t play for National team. You know that I had wished to, but I don’t want to repeat again why I didn’t play. Obviously you understood…
Zurnal: On that "black Friday" your teammates Mile Ilic and Josh Boone took you out from the court after you were lying 4 minutes.
Krstic: I don’t remember that scene at all. Just like fear and unbelievable pain (which caused that I didn’t feel my leg) erased everything. Maybe, that’s better for me, because psychologists say that in situations like that players always rewind scenes from that movie during rehabilitation and that’s thing which haunts them. I don’t have such problem. That’s fortune in an unfortunate situation.
Zurnal: But, one thing, unfortunately, Krstic remembers very well…
Krstic: I never even dreamed that I will leave the arena in a wheelchair. I was desperately depressed during the first 2 days after the injury. Now, I’m trying to encourage myself and I’m good in that job
Zurnal: All that should not worry Krstic. Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets superstar, says that he "wears" his scar on his knee with special feeling of pride, like a war veteran.
Krstic: I don’t see any reason why I should not be even better when I come back from rehabilitation. Prognoses and predictions from doctors are saying that I will be fully recovered, so I mustn’t and I don’t want to think in the opposite direction. The operation is scheduled for 10th January. I will be operated on in Manhattan by a fantastic doctor who did similar operations on my teammates Eddie House and Cliff Robinson. Then, I will need to walk 3 more weeks on crutches and after all that - a long rehabilitation. I’m doing everything what doctors told me, I’m making my muscle stronger before the operation, five or six time per day I’m working on some special exercises from the rehabilitation program.
Zurnal: Krstic knows that he missed a unique chance to play in his first All-Star weekend. In 26 games he averaged 16.8 pts and 6.8 rebounds. Among centers he was the 3rd leading scorer in the whole league, just behind Duncan and Ming.
Krstic: I really had amazing season until that moment, I was feeling wonderfully. But now I can not make additional burden on my back with thoughts like: "What could happen if I didn’t hurt" or with All-Star themes. I am forcing myself to enjoy the little things, to put new goals in front when I solve the old ones. I’m going to practices and games with great pleasure. It’s very nice for me to watch my teammates when they are practicing or playing games, I support them, give them boost.
Zurnal: USA press is saying that this is "cursed season" for stars. Out of competition is a monstrously strong starting 5: Stojakovic, Pierce, O’Neal, Krstic and Wade.
Krstic: It’s just a matter of huge number of unfortunate circumstances, nothing else. There are no "dark forces" or something like that. For example, Yao Ming and I were hurt without contact with other players and he was playing in the World Championships while I didn’t. A lot of players were knocked, Stojakovic injured his back. This is a game for men, a tough one, and we all know the risks. We are trying not to hurt each other, but such things simply happen.
Zurnal: After the injury, New Jersey officials Rod Torn and Ed Stefanski gave their support to Nenad Krstic. They told the local press that Krstic’s long absence will not affect on his status on the club. They were announcing that they will offer to him multi-year contract in summer. It’s too early to talk about numbers. Nenad Krstic is realistic…
Krstic: Since I got injured, we were not talking about that. I’m grown man and I’ve been in NBA long enough to know how everything functions here. I know that, in some way, I blew up everything I was creating here for 2.5 years. Here, no one will forget your achievements, but when you start to talk about money, emotions are not in first plans. That’s the rule of the game, the same for all…
Zurnal: Your injury ruined Nets chances in this season. US press is speculating that chemistry in squad is not so good, especially on Kidd – Jefferson relations…
Krstic: That’s not truth! Chemistry on the team is excellent, but we simply have problems in finding the correct rhythm and to enter some series of wins. I don’t have some reasonable explanation, but I want to remind you that last year we also played below expectations at the beginning of the season. After that, we were brilliant.
Zurnal: National team?
Krstic: I have huge wish to play for Serbia, so in this moment I simply don’t want to say that I will not play in Spain. I know that chances for me to play are minimal, almost zero percentage, but I hope that, at the end, I can appear there.
Zurnal: A satellite program from Serbia is the best way for Krstic to fulfill lot of free time. He was watching NLB (Adriatic) league all-star game with his teammate Bostjan Nachbar.
Krstic: He is Slovenian and game was played in "Tivoli" (hall in Ljubljana, Slovenia), so I called him to remember on old days. It looked nice, everything was well organized, but I only feel sorry because I missed when Severina was singing (Severina is famous Croatian singer, one of the most beautiful woman in that region). I can not wait someone just to visit me. Mile Ilic is coming every time when he can.
LIST of the best Serbian players for 2006 who play out from Serbia:
1. Nenad Krstic 98 pts
2. Predrag Stojakovic 81 pts
3. Igor Rakocevic 76 pts
4. Vladimir Radmanovic 54 pts
5. Bojan Popovic 47 pts
6. Alexander Nadjfei 39 pts
7. Vule Avdalovic 32 pts
8. Darko Milicic 31 pts
9. Dejan Bodiroga 24 pts
10. Ognjen Askrabic 20 pts