A struggling DeMar DeRozan injured his thumb in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, giving fans a reason to have some sympathy for his poor performance against the Miami Heat. The two-time All-Star shot a dismal 35 percent over the first four games of the series, leading many to believe the lights of the playoff stage were just a bit too bright for him.
But word about the cause of DeRozan’s struggles gained traction before Game 5, and the wholly unique approach medical personnel used to treat it during the action confirmed his injury was serious – just not quite bad enough to be immune to the ingenuity of Alex McKechnie.
The Toronto Raptors’ sports scientist wrapped a red shoestring tightly around DeRozan’s injured thumb on multiple occasions during Game 5. The result wasn’t just the intended increase of blood flow to the affected area, but also the best game the prospective free agent has played against the Heat.
DeRozan had 34 points and went 11 for 11 from the line, a perfect mark that included six consecutive free throws that kept Miami at bay in the game’s final minute. Maybe most encouraging? He managed that flawless free-throw shooting despite re-aggravating his thumb injury during the fourth quarter.
The Toronto Star shared how overjoyed coach Dwayne Casey was with the highly unusual medical treatment DeRozan received on the bench.
“It was interesting. It was an excellent method, I guess, from Alex McKechnie… I’d never seen it before. Whatever works, whatever means necessary… Alex is one of the best. That’s why he’s one of the best in the business, with his methods. I had never seen that before.”
Considering this is working so well for DeRozan, maybe he should consider wearing a shoelace around his thumb even after it heals? He’s likely to seek a max contract this summer, after all, and teams on the fence about offering it would surely be put at ease by such an obvious desire to improve.
As for what inspired the shoestring idea, that is still unknown. It appears everyone was so excited it worked, they forgot to ask McKechnie how he thought of it. Maybe he’s a mad scientist and everyone’s afraid of him? Who knows, but it looks like we will see more shoestrings on the bench in the NBA going forward.
(Via The Toronto Star)