01/25/2013 - 11:54
Staying Positive and Putting It All In Perspective
by Josh Howard

I had ACL surgery on my right knee about two weeks ago and everything turned out well. My recovery is going great. I'm taking it one day at a time, but actually enjoying it, because this time I know what I have to look forward to. 

The recovery time will probably be the typical 6-8 month range and I know what I have to do to get back to game shape. I'm very motivated. I can't even be upset right now. I've already been through this situation before with my left knee and that was worse, so I'm not going to let this stop me. The surgery was done by Dr. Souryal, the Dallas Mavericks team doctor. He said it was a clean tear of the ACL this time and nothing else was damaged.

After the surgery they set me up with a continuous passive motion machine that keeps up the constant motion in your legs going into your first doctor's appointment and I think that was helpful, something I didn't have after my last surgery. Now I'm actually up walking around already, which is a good feeling for me. I have a sleeve on my knee and I've already been going to rehab for a week now.

You don't want to rush back, but at the same time, all I have is time in front of me like I did preparing for this season. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get better and prove the naysayers wrong again. I came back from one ACL surgery and I can do it again. If I have to approach it like my rookie year or my second year and I have to play summer league, I have no problem with that. I could go out there get some good run and give the GMs an opportunity to see me. If it comes down to that I'll do it. But hopefully I'll work hard enough that I can get a workout and let some GMs see me that way.

Of course I wanted to play this season and I actually helped the team through their tough times. I'm very very thankful to Minnesota for giving me the opportunity. I was a pleasant surprise to them as well from what I hear.

To have a Hall of Fame coach like Rick Adelman speak so highly of me, it makes me feel good and it tells me that I accomplished something. They've seen me do it.

I think with all the injuries they had there early in the year, I provided some consistency for them, on and off the court. One of my biggest jobs that I did was nudging along Derrick Williams, who was having a hard time understanding why he wasn't playing. He took my advice as far as keeping a positive attitude and sticking with it. It's just being a leader and leading by example. I came into the gym, worked out hard and didn't say a word, just did whatever they asked me to do. That goes a long way.

I also got the chance to play with some great players like Kevin Love. He's a great locker room guy and a great teammate. The one thing that stood out to me about Kevin was how he hustled on the boards. He's a relentless guy rebounding the ball. I consider myself a good rebounder throughout my career, but to see him do the things that he does to position himself for the rebound, I haven't seen anything like that. It was great to see. It reminded me of what I used to be like at a young age.

The fans in Minnesota were great. A lot of them remembered how I was almost drafted by Minnesota back in 2003. So they accepted me like I was one of their own from my rookie year, which was kind of funny. A lot of the front office people still talked about it. They always said they were glad to have me up there. Even when I left, a lot of the fans were sorry to see me go and really want me to come back. It was kind of like another homecoming for me and it was a great experience.

I was even able to deal with the cold. When I had to move out my hands were so cold. I think it was like 18 degrees, but it felt like eight degrees. It never got like that in North Carolina, Dallas or Utah. I'd never experienced one-degree weather in my life, so to experience that, I'll always be able to say that I lived in a place where it was almost negative and lived to tell about it.


I really enjoyed my time in Minnesota and would love to go back next season if given the chance (Getty Images).

I left Minnesota with a positive attitude. They told me to keep in touch and I plan on it. I'm planning on going back up there to check out a couple of games once I get back running around and moving.

The time off gave me the opportunity to spend time with my family here in Dallas. I got to spend time with the kids around the holidays and then even after surgery, my grandmother and mom came down. It's been great to have so much family and so much support around me. If you can't look to your family for inspiration then where can you turn? That's what family is for and my family is one of the best at doing that. Family is a big part of my foundation and I appreciate everything that they've taught me and done for me.

I wish I could still be playing, but at the same time I know I did what I had to do and now it's time to get better from this. I think that mentality comes from my upbringing, my mom and grandmother always teaching me to go fight, never back down. That's just something that I've always had in me since I started playing sports and even before. That's a good thing to have in you. I'm going to continue to look up because that's all I can do. I've been down before and I've gotten back up. If anybody can take anything from this story it's to continue pushing, no matter what.

I'm not the same guy I was way back when. I'm a man now. I've taken care of my responsibilities. I take care of the business at hand when it's presented to me on and off the court. It's sad that I can still honestly say that I have naysayers. I continue to prove them wrong, but they motivate me. I'd honestly like to thank them for that. I've been through a lot in my career and for me to be a 10-year pro in the NBA speaks a lot in itself with all the adversity that has come my way. This is just another hurdle that I'm going to jump over. God has bigger plans for me and I'm willing to accept them. As soon as I get myself right, I'll be looking forward.

I look at this as an opportunity for me to grow. I've been through this before and I've been on the bad end of it with the first tear. I know I don't want to go down the mental road of thinking bad because I've already shown myself I can get back to normal. So as soon as they release me to start doing exercises, I'm going to take a page out of Adrian Peterson's book. Some of the guys that worked on me in Minnesota knew the guys that worked with him, so I plan on getting in touch with his guys. I plan on being like him. Once I figure out what he did — besides his great mental ability to focus in on what he had to do to get back to his old self — the sky's the limit for me.




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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