My Therapy Sessions
As you all know, I have been working extremely hard in trying to get back out on the court. And to give you a better idea, I'd like to share with you what I have been doing in addition to riding the bench during home games.
I am focused on getting back on the court as quickly as possible, and to that end I am working five or six days a week. As opposed to loading things up and doing everything in one day, I do the heavy stuff on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and then on Tuesdays and Thursdays, do more trunk building. I've been trying to stress the whole lower body so that I can keep building up resistance and tolerance. In this way, they kind of reinforce each other. I do a lot of bounding and stress exercises, as well as more direct-impact activities on my knees.
I have been working with some great trainers at Active Care. I have to admit, it has been very difficult. Lisa has figured out all the tricks of the trade and catches you when you try to cheat her. She has it down to a science, most fortunately for me. I will very much appreciate and thank her in January. But right now, she's a little devil to me.
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I concentrate more on resistance training, like squats. Often, I do quadricep raises (where I sit against a wall with both legs extended and raise the weakened leg) to increase my quick reflexes and how quickly I can contract my quad and how long I can I hold it in a maximum stressful position.
After that, I work on my hips so as to build up muscle around the lower extremities that will help stabilize the knee. I'm getting my hips to be as loose and flexible as possible so I can better control the lower part of my body.
There are still a few degrees of extension needed in my knee. So, I have my trainers (Lisa, Coleman and Ian from Active Care, San Francisco) manipulate it to where they are forcing that extension in hopes that my knee will adapt to it and keep going farther every time. All this work is to not only to build quad strength, but also to get back the full range of motion in the knee; and this is a way of speeding up the process to achieve full extension, applying pressure and releasing it in a stretch position so that the scope of movement in my knee will be attained. It's a little painful, because it's trying to stretch the knee to a point where it's not willing to go. But it's like stretching, doing yoga or anything of that sort, eventually it will feel good.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I spend most of my time on my movement. First, I go on a 15-minute bike ride to wake up the quads. Here, I'm really learning to put a lot of pressure on the quads and learning to control them. That's why I have to stand up a lot during these bike rides, so as to put as much stress on the quadriceps as I possibly can to build up strength, and other things like that.
After the bike, I usually hop onto the stairmaster. Here, I'm controlling the movement of my legs and, again, trying to maximize the amount of stress I can put on the quads and under the knee from a stand-up position. When I come back, I'll be used to knowing where to work the quads, rather than put a lot of stress on the knee. [Overall, everything is designed to strengthen and weaken the quad in a way that does not put stress on the knee itself.] I end up my day with a 15-minute walk-jog on the treadmill.
This is what I normally do for five-plus hours, five or six days a week, and at the end of the day, I feel dead, as if someone has just beaten me up. I feel really, really stressed out, really exhausted. Usually, I take a daytime nap – something I never used to do. But everyday, since therapy began, it has become kind of habitual for me to take a nap when I get home.
I haven't had the chance to do much else. I've been trying to write some poetry. But I've spent so much time at the gym, that I'm tired most of the time. Right now life is pretty much all about basketball and getting back on the court.
However when I do go out, I've had a lot of people come up to me, asking me when I will come back, how is my knee and We need you', Come back soon'. And that's been really great, because I feel like at least they still remember me and my playing last year. I think that's one of the hardest pills to swallow right now - to know that the team is doing well and I don't have a hand in it. I put in a lot of work last year when we weren't doing as well, and I don't want that to be forgotten now that we're doing well. So the fans have been great because they make me feel that the team is going to be even better when I come back.
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