Rose recovery, insight from Eric Maynor

Rose recovery, insight from Eric Maynor
March 22, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Kristen Harper

With all of the back-and-forth debate on if or when former league MVP Derrick Rose should return this season, comparing other athletes who have suffered the same injury -- tearing the anterior cruciate ligament, more commonly known as the ACL -- has become something of a pattern in recent media reports. When talking with backup point guard Eric Maynor of the Portland Trail Blazers, who also sustained the same season-ending injury last year while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder, there are facts that remain consistent between the two.

“My body,” said Maynor, who was traded from Oklahoma City to Portland at the trade deadline. "I listened to the doctors also but they don’t know how my body is feeling so I listened more to my body than anything."

Rose shares the same approach to his return, telling reporters at Wednesday's Bulls morning shootaround, “Still trying to be patient, listen to my body and just be patient right now.”

While Maynor was cleared by doctors and returned to the lineup only nine-and-a-half months after his injury, there were still doubts in his mind. Overcoming the mental aspect of the injury seemed like a tougher obstacle to conquer than the injury itself.

“When I first got cleared, I still had doubts because you’re nervous. Is my knee sure, is my knee really ready?” said Maynor who contributed seven points in 15 minutes of play in his preseason return and chipped in with eight points in Thursday night's 99-89 Blazers win over the Bulls at the United Center.

Prior to Maynor’s injury, he averaged just under 11 minutes for the Thunder and contributed just shy of three points per game. While he didn’t command the attention of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, he was a key player in the rotation -- being Westbrook’s relief and seen as one of the best backup point guards in the league. 

After his injury and losing his spot to Reggie Jackson in the Finals vs. Miami -- which inevitably led to him being traded -- Maynor has found a good home with the Trail Blazers. In just 13 appearances, his minutes have already increased to 20 on average.
   
Although Maynor does not have the explosiveness or diversity of Rose, the two point guards share the reality of this being their first serious injury. Both have had minor nicks and bruises throughout their careers, but tearing an ACL is different. With it comes emotions previously unexperienced, but keeping his focus on returning to the game was a priority for Maynor while Rose continues to express the same desire.

“I wasn’t nervous but I just never been in that situation. It was tough because it was my first injury ever,” said Maynor, who is averaging seven points since arriving in Portland and playing a prominent role as Rookie of the Year front-runner Damian Lillard's backup. “I wanted to come back and play. I wanted to come back at a high level though. Some guys just go through it, you can say half [expletive], but I wanted to come back ready to play. Mentally I just tried to go at it every day.”

Again, Rose has a similar thought process, saying Wednesday, “[I am doing] everything: core work and just me at home doing sit-ups, whatever. Just working on my body, so when I come back, giving myself the best chance to be a better player."

[RELATED: Rose making steady progress but return still unknown, Rose not rushing his comeback]

Although Maynor returned sooner than Rose, all athletes are different and one case can’t be compared to another.

Maynor may not have Rose's high profile, but it is evident from both his words about the recovery process and gradual return to form, that rehabilitation from such a significant injury shouldn't be taken lightly, regardless of a player's star power.