It’s been a few weeks since my last blog entry. I’m deep in the rehab process now, just grinding.

Every morning is basically the same. Massage work. Balance work. Lift. Low Load circuit. Conditioning. Stuff on the court. Four or five hours go by.

It’s pretty monotonous, and it’s not fun. I’m just trying to get through it.

The biggest change is that I’ve been out of the brace for a couple weeks now, and everything is feeling pretty good. It definitely feels good to walk around the house without the brace. The act of walking finally feels normal. That’s really nice.

Some of the balancing activities that I’m doing now are kind of an upgrade from the balance activities I was doing before. I’m able to do it for longer periods of time. I’m able to do calf raises for more reps and some weight, like wearing a weight vest. And I am slowly progressing with the AlterG.

This is the first time I’ve ever used the AlterG, and if you don’t know what it is, it uses air pressure technology to allows you to rehab without putting your full body weight on your legs. It’s like you don’t have the full effect of gravity on you (which is where the name comes from). When you set it to 20% or 30% of your body weight, it feels like you’re so much lighter and you’re just kind of walking on air. It kind of helps me slowly progress and still get the same range of motion that I would normally be getting, so that’s really cool.

The next phase of my progression is to be able to do a single-leg calf raise, and do repetitions of it, and not have fatigue or any pain or anything. And so, that’s kind of where I’m at, like slowly progressing on the AlterG. I started at like 30% of my body weight, doing a single-leg calf raise. And now we’re slowly up to like 70%, 75%. And so, I’m almost there, being able to do a single-leg calf raise. Once I am able to do that, then I can do the elliptical.

And once I’m cleared doing the elliptical for a certain time and distance, then I’m able to start running.

On a basketball court, I’m still limited to doing things where I’m basically standing still and then taking maybe one step. Everything is flat-footed. So I can do a dribble pull-up, and though I don’t jump in the air, I still do the dribble and the step. On finishes around the rim, I can do a step and finish, but staying on the ground.

That’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’m doing all dribbling drills and passing drills, but just stationary, or slowly walking across the court. I can’t really jump or do any big-time movements like that.

The hardest part of all of this is the mental grind. It’s a lot of time doing pretty boring things to get the slightest bit better every day, and of course, sometimes I don’t get better. Sometimes I take a small step back because my ankle didn’t react well to the thing that I did the day before. And so we have to walk it back a little. That’s the hardest part, and the most frustrating part for sure.

But you have to keep pushing.

I’ve been going to basically all the home games, so that’s been good. I’m not sitting out by the court yet because while the game’s going on, I’m in the back doing treatment and working out, basically putting in a second session of rehab. I see the guys at halftime and after the game a little bit, so that’s good, too.

When there’s not a game, my trainer will come over and we’ll just do the second rehab session at my house. Depending on how my ankle feels, sometimes it will just be ice and stretching, sometimes it will be another session of strength exercise, range-of-motion exercises, different things like that.

BATTLING FOR THE EAST

As much as I want to be playing, it’s remarkable how our team has figured out different ways to win games. We definitely don’t play our best every single game. There’s definitely been games that we should not have won, but we did. We’ve fought through adversity-games where we didn’t have Al, or didn’t have Marcus Morris, or somebody else got hurt. It doesn’t matter. Even when we get down in a game, we find a way to come back. We find ways to win. We did that again in LA to break that little losing streak.

It’s a testament to the players, their mental makeup and how our guys are wired. We’re natural competitors. We have a lot of guys that do the little things, that scrap and fight. Part of it is definitely Coach Stevens and the way he’s able to not panic, and instead, encourage our guys and put them in the right positions to be successful.

It’s been a brutal schedule, playing as many games as they have in such short amount of time, and then going to London too. I’m definitely proud of the way those guys have fought through it, and now we’ve reached the second half of our season.

Hopefully, with the games being a little bit more spaced out, we can gain some energy and get rolling as the season comes down towards the playoffs. We’re definitely going to need it because there are a bunch of teams vying for the title in the East.

Cleveland is always a threat because of LeBron. They are struggling right now, but they usually seem to struggle a little bit at some point in time throughout the year and then figure it out come playoff time. They also just got Isaiah back, who is figuring things out and will work his way into the player that he was last year. And so, they are obviously dangerous.

Toronto has been playing really well. Washington is a good team. And then, Miami has won a bunch of games. So, there’s definitely a lot of teams in the East that are sneaky good. And we haven’t really blown out too many teams.

We are always in games with these other teams, and these other teams can play.

OFF THE COURT

Things have been good on the homefront as well. When I have an off day, I’m relaxing and hanging out and not doing much. Other times Robyn and I go on a date, to a movie or out to dinner. Sometimes I have scheduled appearances-for community work or a commercial or something like that.

For the most part, it’s been pretty uneventful.

I’ve been playing a couple of video games here and there. The Overwatch League debuted not that long ago. It was cool to watch. I’m definitely intrigued to see how that does, because that is definitely a big-time league with a lot of money involved. Blizzard is arguably the most popular eSports video game company of all-time, so it will be interesting to see how they do with this league.

Besides that, I’ve definitely become better at Destiny. For a while, I was playing it all the time, and with a game like that — a first-person shooter — the more you play, the better (and more accurate) you’ll be since it’s all based around muscle memory.

FAMILY UPDATE

One of the highlights of the last month or so was Christmas. Both Robyn’s family and mine were here over the holidays, and it was great to see them. The thing that really stood out on Christmas Day, though, was Bernie.

Since she’s two now, she’s a lot more aware of what’s happening, so as you might imagine, she really, really enjoyed opening presents this year. It didn’t matter who the present was supposed to be for. Bernie thought that she was the one who was supposed to open it.

So she just opened everyone’s presents.

In a way, I think everyone else was just as happy about it. I feel like it is always a little awkward when you’re opening presents that people gave you because there’s always that pressure to like what you got.

That tension was released when Bernie just opened your present for you.

And of course, since Charlie tries to do everything Bernie does, she tried to open presents, too. But she just isn’t as fast and strong as Bernie, so she was always a couple of steps behind.

As far as their own gifts went, Bernie and Charlie seemed to like all their toys. But I think Bernie was more excited about unwrapping things than anything else.

FEELING THANKFUL

Last but not least: I want to thank all of the fans for continuing to support me while I work to get better. On the days when things get really tough, seeing a positive tweet or message on Instagram means a lot. I really do appreciate that.

Keep supporting our guys, too, and I’ll check back in with all of you soon.