Summer has pretty much come and gone for me and it was a very busy one. Usually, I take some time off from working out and basketball at the beginning of the off season but because of my ankle surgery I had to rehab and work out even harder to come back to my normal form. My first 2 weeks back at home I was still on crutches but when I got off of them I hit the ground running.
I was busy with rehab every day this summer. When I left France in June, my doctors were vague with what I needed to do. The initial protocol was non weight bearing on my right ankle for 3 weeks and then weight bearing with crutches for another 3 weeks. They said one month after surgery I could start swimming and riding the bike and after 2 months I could start running and after 3 months I could play basketball again. This was great but they didn't tell me how to rehab or things I could do.
When I got back to Milwaukee, I searched my contacts for people who could help me out. I called up my old teammate and friend, Tony Gries, and he gave me some great exercises to do for my ankle to improve my mobility and strength. The training staff at Marquette was also really great. Head trainer, Ernest Eugene, worked with me during the basketball camps applying treatment and doing crazy mobility exercises to my ankle. Ernest also referred me to Athletico Milwaukee and Luis Rivera. I owe Luis a HUGE thank you. He worked with me the most and really attacked my ankle and my rehab. I probably wouldn't have been able to come back to where I am now without Luis.
On top of doing my rehab I was also lifting and doing cardio everyday to stay fit for my return to the court. My rehab was going so well that I started running 1 week before July and only 2.5 weeks off of crutches. I started shooting again when I started running. It was just like riding a bike and it felt great to be out on the court again.
My agent called me in the middle of July to tell me that a team in Japan wanted to sign me but couldn't do so until they saw that I was healthy. There was a simple solution to this because the coach was American and from LA and the General Manager was out in California at the time. Technically it was before I was supposed to start playing but I consulted with my training team and they said I was good to go. So, I flew out to LA for this team to see me.
I thought the workout went well but the team thought otherwise. I won't go into the reasons for this because I still think its BS and the point of this blog isn't to bash people. So, for my sanity, I'll just let it be. C'est la vie.
I started playing 5 on 5 again at the end of July and was able to participate in the Milwaukee Summer Pro Am Championship weekend. The team I was on finished in last place during the regular season but we ended up with the consolation championship with the addition of myself and Dan Fitzgerald. It really felt great to be running up and down the court again with people in the stands. I even dunked on someone! I hadn't done that in awhile.
One morning in early August I received a text from my old teammate Wes Matthews asking me if I wanted to play some pickup at Marquette. He had said that D Wade was coming back and there were going to be some other good players there. I am not one to turn down a good pickup game so I came down. It was really fun to play with some old teammates again and there was an incredible collection of talent in the gym. After those pickup games I knew that I had recovered from my surgery and I was good to go.
August started and I didn't have a job. My agent had some leads but nothing worked out. I kind of suspected that was going to happen with the injury and the NBA lockout going on. Not that I was competing for jobs with NBA players but there is/was a trickle down effect. There were also enough NBA players saying they were going to head overseas that it slowed the markets up. While it is frustrating to not have a job at this time I just worked harder to keep my mind off of not having a job.
I traveled to Michigan in the middle of August for my sisters wedding. The wedding was by far the craziest wedding I have ever been too and it was soooooo much fun. Liz and I stuck around Michigan for a week and half after the wedding to see family and friends.
My sister and me on her wedding day!
Every summer in college I would come home after the summer school session and before the fall semester started. I would take the time to spend with my family and also to workout. I have some really great memories running the stadium steps and working out in the gym. I had the opportunity to do the same thing this summer and I took advantage of it. I treated it like I was in my own training camp. In the morning I would head to the track and in the afternoon I would head into the gym to shoot and do more conditioning with my dad.
The old stomping grounds!
I had a great time this summer and made some great memories. Liz and I lived back downtown on Lake Michigan and had a great view of the lake from our living room and bedroom window. I spent the mornings reading and drinking coffee by the window looking at the lake. I will definitely miss that. The summer was great and we got to spend a lot of time with our friends but it was time for something to happen.
In my next post I'll let you know where in the world I am.