Game Day -- 11/15/00

I was looking forward to my first basketball game of the season. I had missed the first game and was looking forward to banging bodies again.

Some alt.surfers were in town, but I could not free up any work time to have a surf with them. Figured I could hook up on Friday, when my sked opened up a little.

There was a fleeting moment where the thought crossed my mind of getting injured and not being able to surf on Friday, but that vision was quickly dispelled out of my mind.

Game started at 6 PM, so I got there early, did a light stretch and shot around a little, missing most of my shots (as usual). 

They started me, but I was pretty ineffective, doing nothing more than getting a blocking foul trying the draw a charge. Took a short breather before getting sent out again.

As the game progressed, I got more aggressive, pushing my body around. Our shipyard opponent weren't very graceful--in fact, they played downright dirty. Still, I relished the physical nature of the sport. Must be some masochistic male syndrome because it's painful, yet curiously invigorating.

Suddenly I found myself snagging an offensive rebound under the basket. Did a quick180 and jumped up, trying to kiss the ball off the rim. True to their style, the other team hacked me making me miss the shot (as if I would've made it anyway). So I was up on the free throw line, with the opportunity of scoring a couple of points for my girls (I always promise to try and make some for them before every game).

First shot was an airball that swished the bottom of the net uselessly. Not enough rice. I could feel the sneers from the opposing bench as they chuckled at my lousy effort.

So, I was determined to at least get that stupid ball closer to the rim on my second attempt. I carefully went through my pre-shot routine, bouncing the ball several times, spinning it in my hand while simultaneously compressing my knees. I put it up, stepping backwards as I prepared to go back on the defensive. But the ball had other plans. It hit the back of the rim and bounced straight back at me.

Instinctively, I lunged forward to try and snag another rebound. Unfortunately, my left foot was extended all the way behind of me, and as I pushed forward, I overextended.


"Who stepped on my shoe!?!" was my first thought. My left ankle suddenly had a buzzing numbness and felt as if my shoe was halfway off. What the... ?  I turned around, but no one was behind me.

After a few moments of dumbfounded stupor, my brain finally realized that I had hurt myself, although the extent of my injury was yet to be realized. I limped off the court, grabbed my keys, and rushed to my car. My teammates expressed their concern, but I waved them off, telling them to just finish the game.

As I hobbled out of the gym, I noticed that I could push my full weight down, but it felt really wobbly, with no lateral strength. I wondered if this was how a blown knee (ACL) would feel like.

It felt like my leg was about an inch too long, and the base of my leg felt thin. I hoped that I had just dislocated my ankle. Of course, it didn't dawn on me at the time that you can't really do that. Funny thing was it wasn't sore at all; it just felt numb, with a heavy buzz going through my calf.

I was hell bent on getting to the hospital by myself. The challenge was that I had a stick, and my clutch foot wasn't doing so hot. Still, I figured out a way to push my weight in such a way that there was little pain shifting gears. Just my luck that there was a mean traffic jam on the highway, but such is life.

I finally got to the hospital and hobbled in. Registration was fairly fast, but still took longer than I wanted. That's when I took off my shoe, played doctor, and realized that I didn't have an achilles heel. My attitude changed from one of wishful optimism to depression from the graveness of the situation. Hopes of a quick recovery just went down the drain.

The ER doctor was pretty cool. He confirmed my unprofessional diagnosis by doing a simple calf-squeeze test that the foot should automatically respond to, unless of course the tendon is severed.  My foot was as still as still can be.

"Complete Achilles rupture of left foot" was the official diagnosis. The good doctor used this neat wrap and created a long, temporary half cast from my thigh down to my foot to keep it immobilized until I could see an orthopedic specialist.

My loving wife picked me up and shuttled me home where my pampering began. I had a makeshift recliner set up right in front of the TV, complete with remote in one hand, computer in the other, and water and painkillers right next. I was styling!

The injury was uncomfortable, but far from painful. I had heard that this kind of injury was usually very painful, but I was fortunate that it didn't seem to be in my case. Not yet, anyway.