Tuesday, February 19

On The Mend

Hi everybody! As promised, the new ACL is firmly in place. At least it feels like it is. Honestly, I don’t know how I could tell if something had gone wrong, but it certainly seems like the joint has been improved. I also got a nice dose of microfracture surgery as well. Let’s home I'm more Amare Stoudemire than Chris Webber. It’s now been nearly three weeks since the surgery, and it is amazing how every day I awake with obvious improvements. I can’t wait for each new morning because I know it’s going to be that much better.
Dr. Nick is not my doctor

But I highly recommend everyone avoid this predicament if at all possible. Arthroscopic knee surgery isn’t nearly as fun as it sounds. Fortunately, in the immediate aftermath, my parents offered me my old room and plenty of nurturing. Mom’s an excellent cook, so I ate far better than I deserved. And I didn’t have to worry about very much. But it wasn’t exactly the best week of my life. I grew a bit stir crazy. Seriously, it’s my old room – from high school. Plus, the knee didn’t feel too good. It had swollen to the size of a ripe cantaloupe, and even getting out of bed was a big chore.

The peak of discomfort came Sunday night at two in the morning. Despite being on narcotics for the pain, the top half of my shin somehow managed to throb, stab, ache and burn all at once. It felt as though it was not made of bone, but carved directly from pain itself. I have never felt anything remotely as painful as this, nor do I ever hope to again. But that is behind me and the pain is minimal at this point. I'm off crutches and can even climb stairs. The overarching lesson here is that I don't ever want to go through this again. I hereby pledge to keep these limbs in shape and stretch them before any future athletic contests.

Speaking of which, I’m back at Athletico, doing my kneehab. For three weeks in, they say I’m doing great and I plan to keep working my tail off to stay ahead of the curve. My overarching goal is to dunk. That’s technically not something I’ve done before – a football once, but everyone knows that doesn’t count. As long as I can conquer my own impatience, I am certain of a full recovery.

When not doing leg raises and heel slides (don’t ask), I spend my time working on the book. In advice-seeking e-mails with SI.com's Stewart Mandel back when I first quit work, he told me, “It’s quite a process.” The implication of that statement was surely, “Are you sure you know what you’re getting yourself into?” I didn’t. In some ways I still don’t. It’s the most daunting challenge I’ve ever faced. Some days are unnervingly devoid of progress, but the ones where the prose flows are incredibly rewarding. At the rate I’m going, you will be able to read the final tome just in time for the 2114 season.
Not an authentic mugshot

I’ve grown a “playoff beard” of sorts which is going to remain until I reach certain self-imposed milestones. It’s scraggly and unattractive, but that’s part of the point. Still, the Chicago Tribune claims that beards are making a comeback. So maybe I’m hip for the first time in my life. People ask me what the book’s going to be called. For now, the working title is something I heard a USC fan emphatically tell her friends a couple hours before kickoff: “I’m so drunk!” It’s got a nice ring to it, no?

Finally, thanks for all the well-wishing from friends over the past few weeks. It's meant a lot to me and made the boredom of being laid up that much easier. Hopefully I'll be leaping tall buildings before you know it.

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