Courtesy of Joe Freeman
How did you originally injure yourself?
“Someone just came down and swiped on it. They tried to go for a strip.”
Do you remember when?
How much has it affected you this season?
“It’s my left arm and you know how left-hand dominant I am, so it does affect me a lot. But a lot of guys in the NBA are nicked up and things like that. But this is something that’s a little more serious just because it’s a torn labrum. And it’s my left arm. It’s just a tough injury to play through.”
How did the decision to have surgery come about?
“Just talking it over with the team and (my) agent and things like that.”
Did you have an MRI?
“Yeah. A few weeks ago.”
Why are you having surgery now?
“It’s a timing thing. It’s just something that we came up with, just the best thing to do.”
How tough is it to know you’re season is over? Come to grips with it yet?
“Not really. It’s tough. Especially with the season not going how I wanted my individual season to go and team-wise. Whenever you have to have surgery, it’s not a fun thing. It’s nothing that an NBA player wants to go through, being injured and missing games, so it’s definitely not a high point in my life right now.
And you aggravated this season in Philadelphia?
Was there a player involved?
Man … (Joel) Embiid, man. I think I took him out, he took me out. (laughs)
Is there a timeline for your recovery?
“Won’t know exactly until (surgery) gets done. Hopefully nothing crazy. I can’t give you an exact date.”
But you’ll be back by the start of next season?
To follow up, how much has this injury impacted your play this season?
“You know me, I’m not really a guy who’s going to make excuses. Individually, I didn’t have a great year. I’m not having a great year. But it has bothered me just because my shoulder’s not the same every day. That’s not me to make a bunch of excuses, so I don’t know. However you want to take it, that’s what it is. I’m (not) going to make no excuses.”
Between your injury and the team’s struggles, how would you describe this season?
“It’s been tough. But the season’s not over with. We still have a bunch of guys in this locker room that are still going to fight every day. Hopefully we still get that eighth playoff spot and make a push for Golden State. But obviously it’s been tough. Especially with the expectations and everything that comes into play, picking up (Evan Turner) in the offseason, guys getting contracts and things like that. But it’s been a disappointment. Our record. But we keep fighting. It’s not over with. But I guess, as of right now, you could say it’s been a disappointment.”
Why did you decide to have the MRI?
“It wasn’t like, you get bumped on your leg or something and it’s like a little pain and it goes away in a couple days. It was something that I felt that I needed to get pictures of and see what was really going on. So I’m one of the guys that tries to fight through every injury I possibly can, and it’s one of those things I couldn’t keep fighting through.”
Did you think about having surgery last year or over the summer? Or was the injury not as bad then?
“You could say it was not as bad. But surgery is a last option. Especially for me. I don’t like it, I tried to rehab it and strengthen it and things like that, but sometimes that doesn’t fix it all the way. So it’s just something you’ve got to get done.”
You ever have surgery before?
“Rookie year on my knee. Something very minor. I was out like a month or two. But other than that, no.”