Vince Carter began the Memphis Grizzlies’ ongoing training camp in better condition than he was for the entirety of last season. Having the summer to train, believe it or not, does wonders for a player entering the 18th season of his career.
“I was so ready to go. I was excited. I wanted to show everybody what I’ve been doing over the summer,” the 38-year-old told Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal after the Grizzlies’ first practice. “For me, it was what it was last season with the ankle. I had to let it heal and then get in shape. It was a little tougher because I put so much pressure on myself. But I got in shape and got stronger.”
Carter went under the knife to remove bone spurs from his right ankle in the summer of 2014. He entered his first season with Memphis at less than 100 percent as a result, and never quite reached the level of play to which he’d grown accustomed as a role player with the Dallas Mavericks.
Had Father Time finally come for Carter? Or was he simply hobbled by complications gleaned from surgery? If his obvious optimism following Memphis’ Tuesday practice wasn’t enough evidence of the latter, this photo certainly will be.
If a healthy Carter means he’ll provide the Grizzlies with a much-needed dose of scoring and playmaking off the bench, their chance to emerge from a loaded Western Conference come playoff time will be much higher. And even should Memphis fall short in the spring yet again, at least it seems the basketball world will have ample opportunity to watch Carter perform his patented aerial theatrics before he finally calls it a career.
[Via The Commercial Appeal]