Jared Dudley continues to do non-contact drills in training camp for the Wizards, and it appears his recovery from lower back surgery is going perfectly. Martell Webster, who has had three, knows that taking extra time to return is the better course of action.
“My stubbornness is why I had to get another surgery in the first place. I shouldn’t even have had two more surgeries," said Webster, who had his first in 2010 and another in 2011 with the Minnesota Timberwolves. "I love basketball. I wake up every morning and they pay me to do it. It’s not even a job. It’s a glorified hobby. I love this. When I get on the court it’s not a job. I’m like a kid that’s in a play structure. I just want to go play and do everything so I’m rushing myself back just so I can get out there and play again. Be free again. That does more harm than good. That’s me being young and naïve and not really listening. That’s the reason as to why it led to more surgeries."
Dudley had his first back surgery in July after rehabilitation failed to relieve pain for a bulging disk (L5-S1). He thinks he'll be able to play earlier than expected, possibly before mid-November. Webster had the same surgery before he came to Washington, and he hasn't been the same since averaging a career-high 11.4 points in 2012-13 in his first season here. Webster had a collision with Xavier Henry in a game with the Los Angeles Lakers the following season and that led to his third surgery, in a different spot on his back, in the summer of 2014.
"My advice to Jared? ‘Listen dog, if it’s not this year, it’s not this year.' The most important thing when you’re going through rehab is your weight. You got to keep your weight down because once you get back on the court you have all that weight that’s sitting on top of that joint it’s going to be hard and you may regress," said Webster, who is distinctly thinner after dropping 20 pounds this summer. "You got to watch your weight. I told him, I’m with him."
Webster didn't do much in terms of picking up a basketball. He focused on weight loss, stretching and improving his body mechanics to protect his back. He prefers to go for a swim in the pool at Georgetown University before practice in the morning to loosen up.
"The most important thing you can do as a teammate that’s supporting somebody going through something is be there with them through it, especially if you’ve gone through it yourself," Webster said. "I told him, every morning, I don’t mind getting up at 7 o'clock. I get up that early anyway for my kids. Let’s go hit the pool while we’re out in Baltimore (during training camp). That’s only going to help me."
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