Found September 05, 2013 on NY Sports 24/7:
It is one of the most gruesome injuries an athlete can suffer, and it was certainly one of the most gruesome in NBA history. On February 26, 2007, Los Angeles Clipper point guard Shaun Livingston reached with his left hand to pick a ball up off the floor that teammate Cuttino Mobley had stripped away. Livingston retrieved the ball a couple feet beyond the three point line in the Clippers end of the floor, and proceeded to race up the left side of the court for a transition layup. As Livingston elevated, his defender reached in to swipe at the ball. Naturally, the 6’7 Livingston, long and rangy with super athleticism, elevated and protected the ball. He brought the ball into his right hand and scooped the ball up onto the glass, for what appeared to be a routine layup. But as Livingston descended, both his right and left legs were in an awkward position, his left leg in particular. It reached the ground before Livingston’s body made its way back down, and the gangly point guard fell onto his back – halfway between the key and the white and blue Clipper lettering paint that ran along the baseline out of bounds. The layup missed, but more importantly, his left leg, from the knee down, folded like a lawn chair as he fell back, all his weight coming down on his lower leg. Livingston ended up tearing his ACL, MCL, and PCL, and dislocated his patella. It was the second major knee injury of his NBA career, the first a dislocated knee he suffered as a rookie. Before the injury, Livingston was a key bench piece to a Clipper team that was in the playoffs one year prior. In 54 games that year, he averaged 9 points and 5 assists, as the 21 year-old future replacement for the then 37 year old Sam Cassell. But the injury put Livingston into an 18 month recovery that forced him to miss the 2007-2008 season, and robbed him of what was to be a very promising career full of potential. Out of Peoria Central high school in Peoria, Illinois, Livingston was the fourth overall pick by the Clippers in the 2004 draft, still the highest spot that a high school guard has been selected in NBA draft history. He has since bounced around the league, playing sparingly for six teams in the last five years. Now though, Livingston finds himself in a position with the Brooklyn Nets that could very well get his career back on track, and give him some stability in what has been an up and down career. The Nets made their splashes this offseason when they acquired Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and Andrei Kirilenko, so naturally, the signing of Livingston on July 11 wasn’t something that would make the front pages. It’s only a one year deal for the veteran’s minimum, but the role Livingston will play this year on the Nets is an important one. A quick look at the Net roster, and you’ll notice significant depth at every position except point guard. Behind Deron Williams is Livingston and second year player Tyshawn Taylor – the former Kansas Jayhawk who saw just less than six minutes a game last season and whom is an unproven commodity. With their starting five boasting Garnett and Pierce – whose prime athlete days are definitely behind them – the Nets may not run as much with their starting lineup as they will with their bench. Off the bench, they have guys like Andrei Kirilenko and rookie Mason Plumlee who can easily get up and down. Livingston will be the key to that off the bench. He probably won’t provide much on the scoring front, but one thing he’ll certainly be able to do is push the ball up the floor with the likes of Kirilenko and Plumlee running with him. He gives the Nets that option to get out in the open court while also being able to run the offense when Williams is resting. The Nets will also afford Livingston with the ultimate no pressure situation. He is no longer the fourth round pick, future of a franchise type guy. He isn’t tasked with running the show or being one of the bench options on a mediocre team. Instead, Livingston gets to back up one of the league’s top point guards on a team that has championship aspirations, and he doesn’t have to deal with any losing culture or negativity around him. He just needs to focus on his role with his new team and do his job when called upon. His career was severely in doubt on that February night back in 2007. But a long, grueling rehab, and six years and five teams later, he finally has his chance for some stability by putting his career back together.
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