In October – exactly six minutes into the NBA basketball season – the Boston Celtics lost forward Gordon Hayward for the season. He broke his ankle in a gruesome injury.
Hayward is slowly, slowly rehabbing. He recently posted an account of what his recovery is like, and I thought it worth mentioning for a couple of reasons.
One: Does this sound familiar?
The hardest part of all of this is the mental grind. It's a lot of time doing pretty boring things to get the slightest bit better every day, and of course, sometimes I don't get better. Sometimes I take a small step back because my ankle didn't react well to the thing that I did the day before. And so we have to walk it back a little. That's the hardest part, and the most frustrating part for sure.Anyone in a long-term recovery program for chronic knee pain can identify with this agonizingly slow pace of healing. Still, recognizing this is how healing happens -- little steps forward, then backward, then repeat -- is useful to avoid getting too discouraged.
Also, of course, notice his mention of those nagging setbacks that you're going to face. You will make mistakes, and push a little too hard some days, and that will lead to frustrating delays.
Two: Listen to how Hayward is exercising his ankle.
... I am slowly progressing with the AlterG. This is the first time I’ve ever used the AlterG, and if you don’t know what it is, it uses air pressure technology to allows you to rehab without putting your full body weight on your legs. It’s like you don’t have the full effect of gravity on you (which is where the name comes from).We all know what AlterG is, right? (I wrote about it here.) AlterG is a rather expensive piece of equipment that allows you to run and walk on a treadmill at less-than-normal forces. While it costs more than a total trainer, the objective is similar, and involves lightening the load on your hurting knees (or ankle).
Gordon Hayward is a $30 million-a-year man. That’s a big contract. He could afford any kind of rehab he and the Boston Celtics wanted. That they chose a piece of technology that’s essentially a cousin of the total trainer should convince you that the joint unloading approach really works for the smartest, quickest recovery.
It’s not just Doug Kelsey and me saying it – it’s the medical staff of the Boston Celtics, dealing with athletes who make far more money in one year than I’ll ever see in my lifetime!