KU’s Brandon Rush underwent successful surgery Friday to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
"The surgery couldn't have gone any better. The doctors couldn't be more pleased," head coach Bill Self said. "Brandon is well on the road to recovery. His rehab will start immediately."
And his world will change.
Knee rehab is not easy. Not even for the finest of athletes.
It was former Seattle Seahawks running back, Curt Warner who said it best: “Rehab is not just word, it’s a whole different world that only the seriously injured can understand. You can’t wish you’re leg back to health, you have to work it back”.
Seems so simple but it’s so true. Brandon Rush can WANT to be on the court come November, but the only way he’ll don the crimson and blue on opening day is if his work ethic matches his desire. He’ll have to work harder than he ever has to rehab his surgically repaired right knee.
He won’t have to go to anatomy class to find out where his vastus mediallis is and how crucial strengthening the muscle is to his recovery. And just wait until he gets the pedals of the exercise bike around for the first time. Rehab is clearly a world away from the glory of being one of the nation’s best college basketball stars.
There will be plenty of anger, and frustration for Brandon along the way. Setbacks are something you have to deal with because there are good days and quite a few bad ones during this four to six month process. The road to full recovery will have its share of potholes. Simple exercises become difficult.
Learning to bend the knee again and battling through scar tissue is way more challenging than chasing Kevin Durant around screens. Your muscle atrophies and you lose your range of motion. Getting that flexion back is by far the worst part of knee rehab, something anyone who’s had this surgery can attest to. It’s a pain that’s tough to describe, but it’s a necessary one. It can make you break out in a sweat or bring you to tears but you have to do it. There is a feeling of satisfaction when you’ve worked and worked and finally popped through an annoying piece of scar tissue.
At 6-6 Rush is a terrific athlete, but he will be amazed how hard it will be for him to stand on one leg. He’ll learn to get his balance back, strengthen his muscles, and eventually he’ll be able to run a straight line. Running, jumping, cutting…that will come later.
As tough as this will be for Brandon, he’s in the best place possible – at a university with a vested interest in seeing him get better. His life will consist of rehab and school – probably not much else. And even when he’s in class, don’t be surprised to see Rush flex his quadriceps muscle or trying to bend it even more. Rehab is really a 24-hour-a-day job.
That leads us to the big question on everyone’s mind? Will Brandon get back? The answer is simple – no one really knows. We’ll be able to gauge early on how he’s progressing but every case is different. It’s totally a wait-and-see scenario.
One thing is certain, it won’t be easy.