The scarred wounds have already been healed. Shaun Livingston’s compression pads have covered up his knees that somehow concealed the remnants of a traumatic past.
It has been six years since he suffered a gruesome left knee injury that injured almost every part of his leg. Shaun dislocated his kneecap, tearing his ACL, PCL, and badly spraining his MCL, in a game against Charlotte (Feb. 26, 2007) after landing awkwardly on a missed layup.
The injury was so severe that Shaun almost got his leg amputated.
At 28 years old, there is still so much in store for Livingston. He still can run and defend with his 6-foot-11 wingspan. And yet for most of his career, he struggled not because of his talent or his surgically repaired leg. It’s just that nobody really gave him a chance. (He had been through eight different teams including one for the D-league.)
The memory of Shaun, grasping for air as his grotesque leg hanging and struggling to find support seemed enough for anybody to conclude that his career has already ended. But quitting was never on his vocabulary. He had no time to dwell on the past. The opportunity to walk and to still play basketball means there is still a chance to get back to his career.
Jason Kidd, the former decorated All-star point guard and now the Brooklyn Nets’ coach, took Shaun and made him a backup point guard to Deron Williams. It wasn’t a leaped of faith. Kidd had played against Shaun before. Livingston always has the vision, athleticism and tenacity, that people considered him as the next Magic Johnson. He’s a good defensive player; he can shoot and post up small guards. He was always a team player – getting guys in the right position, running the offense and guarding multiple positions. Because of his height, he was able to see some things that a normal point guard wouldn’t see.
Shaun Livingston is now averaging as a member of the BrooklynNets at 9.5 points (his highest) and almost a steal a game (highest since his injury). He has somehow carried the team after Deron Williams re-injured his sprained left ankle.
As the Brooklyn Nets lead the Portland Blazers on Monday night at the first half (24-21). Shaun Livingston dribbled between his legs with Portland guard, Damian Lillard extending his arms on defense. Livingston, in the middle, with a burst of speed went to his left, then went up, took the ball with both hands before flushing it to his left with center Robin Lopez’s outstretched arms.
Shaun Livingston showed flashes of his old explosive self. For months learning how to walk, run and jump, and for years struggling to find the right team. After going through one of the worst injury in professional basketball, and now he is finally back. A lot of players could have folded and hanged up their jerseys…But not Shaun.
The injury would always be part of his past, but it won’t be a reason not to move forward.
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