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Old 01-29-2008, 09:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default TJ Ford Update

Here.. from Paul Jones on the sportnet site.

Quote:
There are many questions surrounding the return of T.J. Ford. But the most important question is one Ford must answer himself: "Am I physically and mentally ready to play?"

Ford's rehab is being conducted under the watchful eye of former NBA head coach, John Lucas, at the John Lucas Basketball Resource Centre in Houston, Texas.

Lucas has a wide variety of programs that work to help players in developing their individual game on many levels including mental and physical therapy, and recovery programs that aid players that have had issues with substance abuse.

There are camps for kids of all ages including a pre-draft camp where last year a total of eight first-round picks including Acie Law and Sean Williams, and second-round selection Glen "Big Baby" Davis worked out with Lucas.

It's the second time that Ford has gone through a basketball-specific rehab treatment to endure the rigours of the NBA. Ford has been out of the Raptors lineup since Dec. 11th when a flagrant foul by Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks snapped his head back as he was about to attempt a reverse lay up.

Ford left the court on a stretcher.

"The first time it (the rehab) happened, he had been still for so long (following surgery) that we had to get his posture back," said Lucas.

Lucas and Ford are currently focusing on the mental aspect surrounding Ford's return to competitive play.

"We have focused on his mindset as far as getting his body back and getting it strong," said Lucas. "I've explained to him the maintenance that he has to do to be able to play like he wants to play is now going to be a daily thing until his body builds itself back up."

Lucas has talked to Ford about some players that can come to practice just before it starts and put on their sneakers and play while others need to get there early and prepare to practice. As it stands now, Ford is part of the latter group.

Ford's recovery effort is taking place in familiar surroundings and he has the support of his family, in particular his father, who has been a source of strength according to Lucas.

Lucas, the No. 1 overall selection in the 1976 draft, knows Ford well because his son, John Lucas III, played AAU basketball with him.

A typical day for Ford sees him arrive at the gym around 9 a.m. and work for half an hour on core and stability exercises.

The next 30-45 minutes focus on shooting with Ford needing to make 100 shots from five different spots on the floor.

But Lucas is also working on another important aspect of the game with Ford.

"We've been working on learning how to fall," said Lucas. "We use mats and he is working on how to fall and protect himself."

Ford also plays one-on-one with D-league players and before some additional physical rehab close to noon that centers on strengthening muscles in his neck area.


There is more weight training and when the lifting is done, Ford is back in the gym from 2:30 to 4:15 p.m. for more basketball drills.

Last week Ford and Lucas worked on defense and getting over screens set by an offensive player.

When asked about a possible return to coaching after working with numerous NBA players, including Raptor Kris Humphries and free agent Damon Stoudamire, Lucas quickly shifted the conversation back to Ford.

"My focus is on T.J. right now," said Lucas. "His mental approach has been outstanding. I keep telling T.J. that life is a bunch of start overs and if he gets hurt again, we have to be willing to start over again."

Lucas who has been connected to the NBA game for 30-plus years has high praise for Ford and his skill set as a point guard.

"In my 35 years in the NBA, I haven't seen five better point guards than T.J. when he is right, and that's saying a lot because I've seen a lot of them," said Lucas. "Those guys aren't developed they are born."

When asked about Calderon's play in Ford's absence Lucas was complimentary.

"I like Calderon a lot, I think he has done a great job" said Lucas. "He is the perfect complement for T.J."

According to Lucas it sounds like Ford will be very close to his old self when he returns.

And just when will that be?

"Very shortly" according to Lucas.
here's hoping he's back sooner than we thought.
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