I know its early but......
G-Mac back from summer of rest
Time and intense rehabilitation have healed SU guard's injuries.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
By Mike Waters
He's OK and willing to talk about the injuries now, but back during the 2003-04 season Gerry7McNamara McNamara kept everything under wraps.
The injured shoulder. The pulled groin. The stress fracture in his pelvic bone.
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McNamara sealed his lips and tightly wrapped his aching body, never missing a game as Syracuse advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16.
"I didn't let out that I hurt really bad," McNamara said recently. "Once you get out there, there's no excuses. You have to fight through it."
So McNamara gritted his teeth. He stretched his tender left groin before every practice and every game. He ignored the pain that shot through his left leg every time he landed after taking a jump shot. He applied ice to his right shoulder after every game, looking like a pitcher who had just thrown 120 pitches.
While most of his Syracuse teammates spent the summer playing ball and working on their games, McNamara rested.
"I had to take a required two months off," McNamara said. "I didn't start running until the end of July. I didn't play any basketball until the beginning of August."
McNamara injured his groin in a Jan. 20 game at Seton Hall. He suffered the injury in the first half of the game.
"I told Coach (Jim Boeheim) I wanted to give it a shot," McNamara recalled. "In halftime warmups, I took a jumper and I couldn't land on the leg."
At the time, McNamara was
averaging 17.1 points per game. His end-of-season average was 17.2.
However, the injury affected his shooting accuracy. In the 15 games prior to Seton Hall, McNamara made 41.7 percent of his shots - 37.5 percent of his 3-point shots. In the next 12 regular-season games, McNamara dipped to 32.7 percent - overall and from 3-point range.
The decreasing shooting percentages weren't all due to McNamara's injured groin. The slump coincided with the heart of Syracuse's Big East Conference schedule and the midseason departure of starting point guard Billy Edelin.
McNamara's groin injury worsened as the season progressed.
"It needed extended rest to heal," McNamara said. "If you play, it makes it worse. During the season, that isn't an option."
Eventually, the muscle began pulling away from the pelvic bone, creating a stress fracture. The injury wasn't dangerous, but it was painful.
"I've had some tough injuries, but that was without a doubt the most difficult to get through," McNamara said. "It wasn't just playing or practicing. It was day-to-day. If I sneezed or coughed, it hurt."
McNamara's right shoulder also hurt. He had separated the shoulder as a high school sophomore, giving him what's referred to as a "loose shoulder."
McNamara couldn't pinpoint an exact play or even the game when the shoulder began to bother him last year, but by the end of the season, "it felt like it was just hanging," he said.
It's amazing to think that McNamara scored 24 points against eventual national champion Connecticut in a 67-56 win over the Huskies at the Carrier Dome. Or that 11 days after suffering the strained groin against Seton Hall he scored 26 points on 6-of-14 shooting from 3-point range against Virginia Tech. Or that he scored 43 points against BYU in the NCAA Tournament.
As he did with the injured groin, McNamara played on despite the bothersome shoulder. After the season ended, he was faced with a choice: surgery or rehabilitation.
"There were differing opinions over what I should do with the shoulder," McNamara said. "One was to have surgery and see what's in there. I'm not a big surgery guy. The other was to rehab it. I chose three months of strengthening and conditioning."
In his summer away from basketball, McNamara lifted weights religiously. He put on 10 pounds. He's lost six since returning to the basketball court, but his upper body looks much larger.
Time and intense rehabilitation have healed McNamara's body. He continues to work with SU's strength and conditioning coach Todd Forcier on stretching exercises to improve the range of motion in his hips. His weightlifting regimen targets his chest and shoulders.
"I feel good," McNamara said. "I work with Todd a lot. We do a lot of stuff for the shoulders and hips, trying to balance me out. We're working on my mobility.
"I'm ready to go. If the season started today, I'm 100 percent ready."
Following his extraordinary sophomore season, a healthy McNamara is saying something. Of course, an injured McNamara wouldn't say anything.
© 2004 The Post-Standard. Used with permission.
Now seeing what a good year he still had with all these injuries what kind of year will a healthy G-Mac have? I feel those goose bumps starting again.....