Lucas Walker has admitted to still undergoing prolonged rehabilitation from an ankle operation – more than two months since returning to the court for Cairns Taipans.
The highs of an NBL title at Perth Wildcats coupled with gold for Australia at the Commonwealth Games after the unexpected call-up had met a deep low just months later.
The Launceston 34-year-old is still trying to make sense of the shock injury that first innocently flared up in preseason training one night.
“I had only been in Cairns for three or so weeks and my ankle had started playing up,” Walker told The Examiner.
“So I had some time off and then I had a cortersone injection, and that didn’t help.
“The last option then was surgery and I had to miss round one and to be honest I am still going through my rehab now. So I definitely wouldn’t say it’s 100 per cent.
Ankle surgery was last Wednesday. The stitches came out today and I’ve already been walking normally in shoes. On the fast track to full health and can’t wait to be back!— Lucas Walker (@Lucaswaxy) September 12, 2018
“I still have got a lot of work to do to be at my best.”
The new signing has still played 10 out of 12 games, but he has been forced to play much of it off the bench.
The 202cm snakes forward has averaged 4.9 points a game, only just below his 6.8-point career average.
But the troublesome ankle has restricted Walker’s movement to just 13.4 minutes on the floor – nearly five minutes less over his 194 games – and 2.7 rebounds, which is nearly half of his leap in the nine NBL seasons.
Walker said the transition is tougher than anticipated.
“When I first came back from it, I felt like I was starting from scratch,” he said.
“I had missed the entire preseason. We had nine [preseason] games and I didn't get to play any of them.
“I hadn’t got to play with any of the guys; it was a brand new team and a new offensive system, so I hadn’t learned any of that as well.
“I did feel very out of touch and my timing was off.
“It took a couple of weeks just to get into practice and to get back to competing.
“You got to combine that with trying not to pull up sore or have days off because you can’t increase your workload too much too soon coming back from the surgery.
“I probably can say in the last two weeks I have just started to feel comfortable...and been able to manage my ankle now a lot better.”