Today we have another guest post by Chris Jackson, of Get Banged On. Chris addresses Andrew Bogut’s health. You can follow him on twitter.
We’ve all seen the YouTube video. A video that should never be seen again. The video of Andrew Bogut’s horrific elbow injury has been seared into the memories of basketball fans and anyone else curious enough to check it out. To bounce back from such a severe injury is a monumental task in itself, but to get back to Bogut’s bordeline All-Star, pre-injury form may be an even tougher task.
In an interview with Bogut, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that while Bogut’s continual recovery has progressed, there may always be some lingering issues. From the Journal-Sentinel:
On how is elbow feels after the surgery performed in April by Dr. James Andrews and if he still has limitations: “I will have limitations my whole life, but compared to where I was this time last year, it’s night and day better. I am shooting every day and lifting weights four times a week. My elbow still gets very achy if I overdo training (too many shots in one day), so I still have to be a little bit careful.”
Limitations for life? It sounds like cause for concern. For a big man like Bogut who relies on upper body strength to battle inside and block shots, these limitations could be a worrying sign for Bucks fans and for Australian basketball fans looking forward to the 2012 Olympic Games. Bogut is the cornerstone for both of these teams; their success rides pretty heavily on his ability to be a dominant inside presence on both the offensive and defensive ends.
As noted on the NBC Pro Basketball Talk blog, Bucks fans might be terribly worried hearing their franchise big man saying in simpler terms, “this will suck for the rest of my life.” The Bucks rely on Bogut and this news could be troubling for the upcoming NBA season (whenever that may be).
Looking forward, things may not be as bad as they seem though. Bogut has finally had a long offseason to get in great shape and as he said himself, his elbow is “night and day better.” With this time for him to finally make a run at getting back to pre-injury shape (or as close as he can get) and not having to rush back into the Bucks’ lineup, we can only expect him to improve on his performances from last season.
Bogut didn’t have a bad season last year for the Bucks. Even though he struggled through the NBA season, battling many different ailments, Bogut finished with averages of 12.8 points, 11.1 rebounds and a career-high 2.6 blocks per game (according to Basketball Reference). Not too bad for a guy who couldn’t use his arm the way he wanted to. With the offseason work that he’s done, you can only expect improvements across the board.
Last season, Bogut also had career-lows in field goal percentage and free throw percentage, probably due to the fact he didn’t have full range of motion in his arm. But the fact that his elbow “get’s a little achy” if he takes too many shots, lends itself well to the idea that he’s probably working pretty hard on rectifying the shooting issues.
So it’s not all doom and gloom for Bogut fans. He’s obviously been working hard during the extended NBA offseason, both on his game and on his elbow. Coming off a good, not great, NBA season while battling through the injuries and having the time to get things right should lead to a successful season, whether that’s in the NBA or somewhere else (anywhere but with the Sydney Kings says this Wollongong Hawks fan).
While we may never get to see a 100% healthy Andrew Bogut, a close to full-strength Bogut is still much better than the majority of the big men around the world. Bogut is tough, he’ll battle through the injuries and leave it out on the floor night after night. The elbow is getting better. Things can only get better.
There should be a sense of optimism for Bogut this year. The only way is up.