In the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, New York Knicks point guard Baron Davis suffered a very serious right knee injury, completely tearing his ACL and MCL and partially tearing his patella tendon. Given his age and injury history, it looked like he might never play again. In fact, I essentially wrote a retirement retrospective for his career when the news broke.
It turns out that might have been premature, because Davis has every intention of rehabbing and playing in the NBA again. From Kristie Ackert for the New York Daily News:
"I don't know how long (for the brace and crutch), but once I am done, it's on to rehab," said Davis. "I am coming back." [...]
The 33-year-old point guard who missed the beginning of the season with a herniated disc would love the chance to come back to the Knicks when he is healthy. He said he loved playing in the New York.
"I think that people, the fans are kids out here playing basketball right now, dedicating their lives to it, I felt that. I felt that NY is the mecca of basketball," Davis said. "The love that I have for basketball, I feel it here. This is the best stage and the best opportunity, to play for a top-notch team."
And Davis could see himself back in the role of back-up to Jeremy Lin, if the Knicks resign the free agent this offseason as they are likely to do. Backing-up Lin was the same position Davis was in until Lin went down with a knee injury March 24. Davis said he thinks Lin can be a long-time starting point guard in the NBA.
Of course, this is just one part of the comeback equation. As a free agent this summer, Davis will have to find a team willing to stick with him through his rehab process. That could be the Knicks, especially if he's willing to play for the minimum. But there are a lot of questions there, particularly if Lin's contract situation continues to stay up in the air (though there could be a resolution soon) and head coach Mike Woodson stays uncertain of his abilities. For Davis, desire to play does not equal opportunity to play.
However, the fact that he wants to play so badly makes a lot of sense. Baron has many interests outside of basketball — film and fashion, in particular — and would have plenty of opportunities to pursue them. At the same time, Davis likes to be a presence in the larger culture. Playing basketball, no matter his playing time, will always give him that platform.
For instance, how else would Baron get to appear in a video in support of New York City's "Heads Up" campaign, which asks cyclists and pedestrians to keep their wits about them and mind their surroundings:
As a resident of a major city who just got back from NYC on Wednesday night, I can say that this campaign is very needed. I cannot tell you how many times I almost saw pedestrians get run over by cabs. And while no one got hit in the head with basketballs, I'm sure that would happen, too, if someone were throwing basketballs at them.
We wish Davis the best of luck in his comeback. And we also hope that citizens and tourists in NYC are not trampled.