03/22/2010 - 15:25
Rehab, Feeling Fortunate and Monopoly
by Josh Howard

It's been a rollercoaster, but that's what life is about sometimes.

The surgery went great. I’m still in my first week of rehab. It was a quick surgery, only lasted about 45 minutes, but overall, it’s healthy now. I had it done at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Dr. Altchek was the one who performed the procedure.

When I first was injured on February 22, I had to wait three weeks for the swelling to go down and to get my range of motion. I had to be able to bend my knee at a 120-degree angle before I had surgery. You have to have some sort of flexibility in the knee and some muscle tone before they can perform the surgery.

With surgery behind him, it's about rehab and preparing for next season for Josh (Getty Images).

Right now, it’s a slow rehab, nothing really major. I have to be still for the next four weeks. Right now it’s a lot of massage, with the swelling, a lot of icing down and I can actually only bend my knee 90 degrees, no further. That’s it right now. There’s a lot of sitting around.

We really haven’t laid out a time frame yet for my recovery because I just started, but these first four weeks here, we’ll be taking it slow. Then gradually, like with my ankle recovery last year, we’ll be taking bigger steps, doing a little more activity. I’ll be working longer each time, putting a little more stress on the knee.

Mentally, it’s all about staying positive. I’ve never been a negative person with regard to myself. I’ve worked hard to get to this point in my life and injuries come. That’s how I look at it. I also look at it with my son Bryson, who is two years old. I want him to see me play ball. He just figured out that I can play, so that’s a good thing to know I’ll be coming back to.

Being a dad has been amazing. Just to see him when I can has been the greatest. Now that he recognizes that I can play ball, he wants to shoot the ball every time he sees me. He’s like a little mini-me. People say Bryson looks like me too and I see it sometimes. I call him BJ.

I reflect fondly on my time in Dallas.

It was a wonderful experience. I was just talking to somebody earlier about how in my rookie year Marquis Daniels and I came in with people like Steve Nash, Dirk of course, Michael Finley, Tony Delk, Travis Best, Antawn Jamison.

Those were the veterans that I came up under so I was able to learn a lot from the jump. Then I went through my career with Don Nelson and Avery Johnson as my coaches, then the last two years with Rick Carlisle.

Coach Carlisle and I agreed on a lot of things and we had a great relationship. I wish the Mavericks the best. The trade did them good just like I think the trade did Washington good until I got hurt. I’m a fan of the game and I’m glad they’re out there playing hard, doing what they’re doing. I learned so much from playing under those coaches and with that team, so I have the utmost respect for Dallas.

When I arrived in Washington it was kind of like a new beginning. I was just glad to be out there and having fun playing. I’m still around the team and I go to practices. They’re on a road trip right now, but when they’re here, I go there to do my rehab and stuff like that.

The time that I’ve spent around coach Flip has been great. He always reminds me that they tried to draft me when he was in Minnesota when I was coming out. He wanted me and he didn’t like the pick that they made with Ndudi Ebi. He still talks about that to this day.

Spending time around the Wizards, I’ve been getting to know the guys and they’re cool. Andray Blatche, Nick Young, Mike Miller, Early Boykins, they’re the vets. Those guys have all welcomed me with open arms. It’s also great being close to my home in North Carolina. You can’t beat that. My grandmother and my mom are on their way up to see me right now.

They were happy when I got traded and it worked out for the best. It’s good to be back on the East Coast.

It’s important to me to stay active in the community and I do a lot of things in that respect each summer.

We just set the dates for my Dallas camp. I still love to do stuff down there in Dallas. Just because I got traded doesn’t mean I’m going to stop, I want to let that be known. We’re going to do that camp at the end of July. We’re going to do a softball game as well and another camp in Winston so this summer is going to be busy.

Of course my rehab is going to really the determine the time that I’ll be able to do stuff, but that won’t stop these things from happening.

I’m also hoping to get a chance to go on vacation this summer. I haven’t been across the border to someplace tropical in two years so I was planning on taking a nice vacation this year. I want to go back to the Bahamas and I also would love to go to Europe, I’m not sure which country, but I’d love to make a plan to go out overseas. I’m determined to do that.

I’ll be spending as much time as possible with my son before the season starts back up. I’ll make sure he’s with me wherever I am over the next few months. But it’s also important to stay in shape throughout the summer and hit the gym. Just have to stay in basketball shape.

Being in the NBA is a product of hard work and the most positive thing for me, as far as being in the NBA, is actually making a dream of mine come true.

A lot of people don’t get to do what they love or what they grew up wanting to do their whole lives. I’m fortunate enough to do that with the grace of God. Just being able to play, it’s a blessing.

I’ve formed some great friendships through my time in the NBA. My closest friend, I would have to say is Marquis Daniels. He’s a guy that came in with me and a lot of people didn’t have high expectations for either of us coming into Dallas. But we proved a lot of people wrong. We’re both still in the league to this day, myself here in Washington and Marquis in Boston.

I also consider Darrell Armstrong and Jerry Stackhouse two of my closest friends. Those two guys have had major impacts on my life as far as being veteran guys that have been around the league. I grew up watching those guys play basketball. Being able to play with them, they taught me a lot. Those three guys are three guys that I will never forget. If basketball were taken away from me right now, those three guys would remain my great friends.

I have a lot of respect for this game and they guys that play it. One guy that I’ve played against a lot and I really respect is Tayshaun Prince. He’s a quiet guy who just comes in and plays night in and night out. He’s a guy that I’ve tried to mold myself after. I want to be a guy who comes in night in and night out, playing hard. I think I’ve done a good job of doing that. But of all the guys that I respect that don’t get as much credit, he’s at the top because he comes in and plays hard.

Another tough guy to play against is Vince Carter because he can do it just like LeBron or Kobe, he just doesn’t get the hype anymore. I just watched him the other night making a big shot against Miami. Kobe and Dwayne can do the same thing, but Vince doesn’t get the spotlight like them.

Josh's two favorite hats.

Off the court I do a lot of collecting.

My favorite collection is my hat collection. I think I have about 500 hats. Most of them are sports related but we’ve got some cartoon characters, some minor league hats, some different clothing hats. But they’re all New Era, that’s the crazy thing about it. They’re not baseball hats that you can just find being sold on the street. They’re official.

My favorites are my black and red Cincinnati Reds hat and I have an all black Angels hat that I always wear, those are my two go-to hats.

I also have a couple of Monopoly boards that I’ve been collecting for a while.

When I was in military school, after we got through with practice and study hall, we would have at least 30 to 45 minutes of free time. So the guys would grab the Monopoly board because we had a little game section with board games, playing cards and stuff. Like five or six of us started playing Monopoly and next thing you know, it was like a nightly thing. That’s what we kept doing.

So I started collecting them, because it was something that got me by when I was going through hard times at military school, so I collect them and it reminds me of what I’ve been through.

They’ve got so many different ones out there. I have an Oklahoma edition, an all black edition, the 2000 edition from when the Millennium struck and a James Bond edition, to name a few. I have more than 15 of them, but I don’t open them up. They’re collector’s items.

I really just love collecting things. I collect shot glasses from every state I’ve been to in the country. I don’t quite have 50 because I’m missing some, but I’m getting there. But I also have some from China that people have given me after coming back from there.

My nicest collection is my car collection. I have a bunch of cars and I change them up every once in a while. I just recently purchased a 1968 Chevy Impala. I also have a box Chevy that I re-did and I re-did the drop-top ‘73.

Collecting is something that keeps me busy in that down time when I’m not playing basketball.












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