In about twenty minutes I have to go to hospital for an operation. It's not something I look forward to - and as an aging baller who had achilles surgery two years ago it was a real fight to get back on the court. So if it's hard for a (now) amateur baller to get back on the court after a spot of surgery, how hard is it on an NBA star and how to they come back?
This is relevant of course because of 'Drew and Arizas' return being supposedly close. The media smoke screen or Phil's mind games aside, how easy is it to come back from major injuries - even surgery?
Well the good news is there are lots of great examples of players coming back as strong and ever and quicker than anticipated. I wasn't sure Amare would bounce back, but he's back in full flow now - still playing basketball at just one end of the court - but doing it well. Of course there are numerous examples of guys who just never made it back - or at least never the same as they left. Not just the multiple surgery Grant Hills or Penny Hardaways, but single ops to lesser players that saw them fade out of the NBA picture.
Whilst the physical strains and reconditioning is often viewed as the main limiting factor, truth be known there's something more important to making a full recovery in basketball. In fact I would go as far as saying there's two things that really affect how a player returns:
1) Most importantly it's their mental state. If they truly understand what they are able to do and what they're not able to do that's the first step. They need to believe what can be and make that happen - this is often a long road from 99% to 100%, but you only reach the end with belief. You can't leap off a leg if you believe it can't take it, some players never recover mentally from injuries.
2) Secondly you could call team chemistry, or others' perception of how the injury has affected the individual. This is key and is often a result of the image projected by 1.
In the case of the Lakers, we will have to be patient with our players and support them back to 100% whilst getting useful production along the way. Fortunately they are both young and have careers filled with potential on a team that mirrors just that.
As for me, I'll make a comeback again - at least writing on CL!
Get well soon boys.