The season had been over for a few months so I wasn’t in the best basketball shape, but it was an All-Star Game. Nobody ever played real defense in these games; it was about fancy shots and high-flying dunks to entertain the crowd. I wasn’t a high-flyer so my goal was to make a few shots, play solid defense and reunite with the guys I grew up with.
The game was at Glassboro High School, right next to Rowan, and it felt like a basketball reunion. Some guys were playing overseas, some were finishing college and Jason was doing well in the NBA. Seeing him in person, it was evident he had been playing against the biggest guys on the planet for the past few years.
In warmups, these guys put on a show. Many of them had forty-inch vertical leaps and it was impressive, even to me. When the game started I was put in as a substitute, which was fine with me. Most of these guys had played high Division 1 for four years, so just being on the court with them gave me a sense of pride.
When I finally got in, I played my role. I took smart shots, passed when necessary, and tried to defend Jason as best I could. He was tall and had more power than I had even expected.
During one play, I went for a loose ball at half court against Jason’s younger brother Ryan. Both of our hands hit the ball but he slapped it away. The next play on offense, I got the ball in the corner and lined up for the shot. When my right pinky finger touched the ball, it felt like the ball was flat. I took the shot and missed.
I then looked down at my finger. It jutted way out to the right, and I couldn’t feel anything. I was praying it was only jammed. When halftime came, I showed it to the trainers.
One of them said, “Oh yea, that thing’s broken. You should go to the hospital.”
Taking her advice, I called my roommate Pete to take me to the hospital since I didn’t have GPS on my phone. X-rays verified that it was indeed broken. The doctors gave me the option of getting surgery to reset the bone or to let it heal on its own with a cast. I hated the idea of surgery so I opted to let it heal on its own. They brought out a cast, tightened it up on my finger, and sent me on my way. They gave me a time frame of about two months before it completely healed.
This was Getting Injured After My College Athletic Career.