Redd: I'm going to come back

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McClatchy Tribune
Monday, February 1, 2010
— Three weeks have passed since Michael Redd crumpled to the floor at the Staples Center during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

What was the Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard thinking in those first moments after injuring his left knee again?

“I knew it was something other than scar tissue,” Redd said in an exclusive interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I heard a pop and it was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’

“God does things for a reason. There’s a reason for everything. I’ve talked a lot to my pastors. My wife has been tremendous; my parents have been great.”

“Right now, I’m just trying to surround myself with people who have a lot of faith. I got through it and I came back to training camp freaking ready, you know. So I know I can do it again. The process is tedious and it’s hard.”

Redd knows exactly what he has to go through to recover from the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament tears in his knee.

That’s because he spent the last year of his life doing just that, following his first serious knee injury suffered in January 2009.

For it to happen again nearly a year later, just two weeks removed from the anniversary of the initial injury, seems an incredibly cruel blow.

“It’s a little more devastating because it happened on the same knee,” Redd said. “But I’ve had assurance from the medical team that I’ll be fine. I’ll be back again.

“I never questioned God, but I thought, ’Why me?’ Why not me? I would be one of the first people to come back from ACL surgery twice and play at a high level.

“I think it’s going to encourage a lot of people in the future. ‘If I can do it, you can do it.’ I’ve got so much to offer, in my career and my game.”

There’s no question the untimely injury complicates the Bucks’ future.

Redd has an $18.3 million player option next season, the final year of the six-year, $91 million contract he signed in the summer of 2005.

Bucks management had hoped for a strong recovery from Redd this season, offering the franchise greater flexibility in making roster decisions.

Instead, the 6-foot-6 guard will be coming off another long rehabilitation process as he turns 31 in August. Also concerning is the sheer number of injuries Redd has sustained in the past two seasons.

He missed 49 games in 2008-’09, including 14 near the start of the season due to a high ankle sprain. Then came the knee ligament tears when he stepped on Luke Ridnour’s foot during a game against Sacramento at the Bradley Center. He did not play in the final 35 games of last season.

Redd progressed steadily during training camp in the fall but suffered a left patella tendon strain in the home opener against Detroit, an injury which sidelined him a total of 16 games.

“There was nothing correlated between this (patella injury) and the ACL,” Redd said. “I came back against the Lakers and was dunking and moving. Against Oklahoma City and Chicago, I was getting the groove back.”

“It happened when I took off (while making a move against the Lakers). All my weight was on this leg in an awkward position.”

No specific surgery plans have been made yet, but details are expected to be announced fairly soon.

“I’m grateful for the Bucks’ support in all this,” said Redd, who joined the franchise as a second-round pick in the 2000 draft and earlier this season moved into fourth place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.

“They really care about me. Obviously I’ve had a love affair with the city and the organization.

“It’s been a wild ride since I’ve been here. I will work hard and I’m going to come back and prove a lot of naysayers wrong.”

’There’s no way you can come back from a second ACL surgery; there’s no way you can come back and be the same player.’

“I don’t hear it, but I just know people are saying it, maybe not in a negative way, maybe out of a ’it’s never been done’ way. That’s my goal; that’s my motivation.”

Redd said he believes the Bucks are becoming a competitive team again under coach Scott Skiles and general manager John Hammond.

They are 20-25 entering a crucial six-game stretch before the all-star break, with the next three on the road against Miami, Orlando and New York.

“Obviously the record doesn’t reflect it totally yet,” Redd said. “We’re making a push but it’s turning. I’m very proud of what Brandon (Jennings) is doing. Andrew (Bogut) is mature now and is developing.”

Redd called himself a fighter and said he would not give up despite all the setbacks on the court.

“I miss playing,” he said. “I miss practice, I miss waving to the fans in the games and getting pumped up. I appreciate my craft and what I do.

“As long as I’m able to play, I’m going to appreciate it, man.”

Last updated: 1:02 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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