True Blue Grit

January 7th, 2014 at 11:32 AM ^

90's, the doctor coming in beforehand to the prep room and saying something like "What's the matter?  You look really nervous".    I felt like saying "Really?  How about we switch positions and you be the one lying here in this freezing room for the first surgery of your life, just before a perfect stranger cuts into your body."   But I didn't.  Anyway, I wish the best to MM and a quick and full recovery.  


January 7th, 2014 at 12:32 PM ^

Several years back I was carrying a holiday ham back from the local ham store.  It was unseasonably cold and I found the cold cut through my patchwork coat.  This exasperated my constant bout with pneumonia, a product of my weary condition. Halfway through my route, I found my way onto a chance patch of ice on the sidewalk.  I slipped.  Luckily I was able to catch my fall, however I relinquished my grip on the ham, which fell to the sidewalk before gently rolling over the curb, arching back into a storm drain, and falling to a ledge just out of reach.  Being an unskilled laborer, it was imperative that I retrieve the ham.  My loving family looked forward to the holiday season because of the veritable feast that would be provided.  It is tough living off of ramen noodles and restaurant garbage for 11 months out of the year.  The ham would provide food for my family for several weeks, as our stomachs had diminshed from years of malnutrition.

I tried to hook my boot into the grate that rested next to the storm drain, but being old and well worn, the sole of my boot tore and I plummetted into the sewer.  By some stroke of luck I was able to knock loose the ham on my way down, and not unlike a highly skilled receiver, I was able to secure the ham before thudding into a shallow pool of waste water.

With no obvious way out of the sewer I began to wander through the series of damp tunnels that formed the complex web of the Dallas undergound.  After several minutes a peculiar but easily defined sound caught my attention.  It was the sound of masonry bricks slowly grinding together.  It echoed off the walls, getting louder until I was able to locate the source - a smaller subtunnel that branched off the larger main line of the sewer.

Intrigued, I cautiously peeked around the corner and what I saw will be engrained into my memory until the day I die.

A sweaty and obviously disheveled person was shoving an unknown package into the wall of the sewer.  A neatly stacked pile of bricks lay to the side.  Without warning, a cough sputtered from the depths of my lungs.

- - -

Craig James wheeled around with a psychotic glint in his eye.  His teeth ground together in what looked like a perpetual state of anger.  As he did, a human leg spilled out of the hole in the wall.  A high heel clanked against the ground as the leg flopped from its hideaway.

I turned and ran blindly.  I'm not sure if I was followed, but I eventually became comfortable with the fact that I had lost my potential pursuer.  After wandering for some time, I was able to find my way out of the sewer and escape with the ham.



January 7th, 2014 at 12:25 PM ^

My daughter (2 at the time) was going in for heart surgery to fix a PDA at Mott children's a few years ago and the surgeon (who looked like she was 20) had a similar talk with my wife and I.  She kept sayign that she understood that it was the most important day of our lives up to that point but for her it was just Tuesday.  I was slightly taken aback at first but she made sense.  She said it wasn't like she didn't care about my daughter, but we could feel some comfort in the fact that she came in every day and performed that procedure and was very good at it.  She wasn't nearly as nervous about it as we were.  


January 7th, 2014 at 12:35 PM ^

Exactly right.  I remember when my youngest son had to have surgery years ago to repair a lazy eye and everybody told me to not worry about it because it was so "routine".

I told them you know what MY definition of "routine surgery" is?

A surgery done on one of YOUR kids.

All surgery is major.  Some just have better predictive outcomes.

January 7th, 2014 at 11:30 AM ^

Does anyone here know what procedure is being done?  All I've read is "back surgery" but that seems somewhat vague to me.  Maybe that's on purpose, or maybe I missed something, and in that case I apologize.   

PB-J Time

January 7th, 2014 at 12:59 PM ^

Depends on exactly what procedure (microdiscectomy, partial, laminectomy, etc...)

Also, he is not trying to get back to "normal" activities (Walking, working a desk job, mild-moderate exercise for general fitness) He is trying to get back to being a very large elite level athlete...just keep that in mind


January 7th, 2014 at 1:06 PM ^

I had a herniated disc for years and it finally caught up to me this summer. I went under the knife September 4th for a laminectomy and a microdiskectomy. I was completely out of action for two weeks and spent the next two weeks playing catch-up. I golfed on October 3 (against my doctor's advice) without pain and with full strength. I was cleared to play hockey (non-check) at the beginning of November. I was in physical therapy from October to December and was discharged before Christmas. I'm back to full strength with minimal pain now.

That being said, he's younger and in better shape than I am, though this may be mitigated by the fact that jumping and running on hardwood may be absolute hell on the back (in fact, my herniation came the day after I played ball). 

So....he could definitely be back full strength by Tournament time.


January 7th, 2014 at 1:07 PM ^

And since you can't have one (discectomy) without the other (laminectomy/partial laminectomy/facetectomy)...typically surgery for a herniated disc will result in both.  It's really unlikely that a fusion will be involved unless there is gross instability associated with the herniated disc, or what I originally thought with Mitch, an unstable pars defect.


January 8th, 2014 at 6:06 PM ^

The pars interarticularis (pars for short) is like a bony bridge in the facet joints between two vertebrae (spinal bones). The defect is commonly a stress fracture.

Facet joints between vertebrae are formed by rearward projections (called processes) from the main bodies of the spinal bones. There is a facet joint to each side of the disc, which cushions impact between the vertebrae. Normally, on X-rays from the side (obliques) the pars looks something like the neck of a Scottie dog (Scottie Dog Sign). A stress fracture looks like a collar around the Scottie's neck, while a fracture with slippage looks like a broken neck.

Sometimes a fracture that isn't immediately visible on X-rays, shows up on later X-rays as the bone reacts to heal the break. 


January 7th, 2014 at 11:30 AM ^

Best of luck to Mitch for a smooth operation and a speedy recovery. Hopefully, his rehabilition goes well and he is able to come out swinging next season. He'll be missed out there certainly, but as I believe McGary himself hinted at, he would much rather be able to play at 100% and compete as he would like and at the level he would like. 


January 7th, 2014 at 12:25 PM ^

Best of luck to him. Even being out, you can tell he is still a very important presence for the team on the sidelines.

Is he likely to come back next year? If he's told that he'll be drafted (say end of 1st/early 2nd), wouldn't you go if you were him? If he stays and has any more back issues, his dream of playing in the league might fade away.


January 7th, 2014 at 1:06 PM ^

EDIT: Don't know why this embed isn't working. Anyway, it looks he's out of surgery.


January 7th, 2014 at 2:10 PM ^

If he is projected as a late 1st rounder or early 2nd rounder, you gotta think he'll go for it to at least try.  Don't want his back injury to destroy his NBA career now, even if it may do so in his first year in the pros.  I think, anyways.

snarling wolverine

January 7th, 2014 at 2:41 PM ^

An NBA scout opined recently that his stock had fallen even before this news, and that at this point he might not be a first rounder anymore.  (There is a huge difference between being a 1st rounder and a 2nd rounder when it comes to pay and contract length.)  So it's going to be interesting.  I would normally expect him to be back at Michigan next year, but he does turn 22 this summer so I don't know.