A foot injury might not sound as bad as a knee injury, but a lingering foot problem can end an NBA player’s career. Former NBA center Yao Ming retired young because of foot problems, and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid still hasn’t played in a game since he broke a bone in his right foot in 2014.
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Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol missed the last two months of the 2015 season with a foot injury. So what has the former Defensive Player of the Year been doing to make sure he can come back strong? After fracturing the navicular bone and undergoing surgery, Gasol has been using futuristic technology to rehab his foot and protect it from further injury.
The two-time All-Star has been posting his rehab journey on Instagram. After ditching the scooter that helped him get around, Gasol started running on a AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill. Designed by former NASA engineers, the AlterG allows Gasol to run with correct form, but without the impact of the 7-foot-1, 255-pound giant’s body weight. This is great for Gasol, because he can get a good cardio workout without putting more pressure on his foot.
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The videos below show Gasol on the AlterG using a higher percentage of his body weight each time. First he was only able to walk, then jog with 55 percent of his body weight, and most recently with 85 percent.
Gasol has also been using light sensor equipment to improve his reaction time. The lights randomly go off, allowing Gasol to plant with his foot and shift his weight in multiple directions.
These exercises have helped Gasol progress in his rehab faster than expected. He was only a couple of weeks away from being healthy enough to make the Rio Olympics, but now Gasol is just eager for the NBA season to start.
“I’m really well and looking forward to starting [the season]. I miss the competition, playing and enjoying basketball. All indications are that the foot is fine. I’ve practiced with the [Girona basketball club] juniors all I could, especially half-court sets,” Gasol said in an interview with Spanish newspaper L’Esportiu.
His jump shot is definitely ready for the season. Let’s hope his foot is too.