Foot infection made Zydrunas Ilgauskas’s feet even grosser than usual

Eric Freeman

Feet are really pretty disgusting, unless you're into that sort of thing, which is fine, because BDL accepts all lifestyles. But most people look at feet and see an unfortunate necessity of human life. Call me crazy, but I'm not a huge fan of a part of the body that stays locked inside a cloth and leather (or whatever your shoes are made of) tomb all day long. There is a reason why only the crazy people in med schools want to be chiropodists.

I mention these topics not to scare you from reading the rest of this post, but to note that feet are already among the worst body parts. So, for a minute, imagine that you had a terrible foot infection that doubled their size. Because that's what happened to Heat center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. From Brian Windhorst for the Heat Index (via Eye on Basketball):

Zydrunas Ilgauskas thought he had a blister on his foot and didn't pay close attention to it. But when he showed up for a game and the foot was twice its normal size and redness was moving up his leg, Miami Heat team doctors sent him to the emergency room.

What followed were a scary couple of days when Ilgauskas learned he had a type of strep infection and perhaps even the dangerous and antibiotic-resistant strain known as MRSA. He said he and the team have not been able to determine the source of the infection.

"I can deal with broken bones but when something from inside attacks you, I've never had that before," Ilgauskas said after taking part in shootaround with the Heat on Friday morning. [...]

Ilgauskas was in the hospital for three days and later had to receive follow-up IV treatments at home to rid the bacteria from his system. He also said he had an important MRI that looked at some hardware in his foot, which was part of a complex procedure to rebuild his foot that saved his career 10 years ago.

Wow, that is extremely disgusting and I'm almost sorry I brought it to your attention. I promise to write a post about puppy dogs and cotton candy for Monday. Don't worry, it won't be forced, because those are Stephen Curry's two favorite things.

Despite the fact that this story is pretty much the worst and I never want to read about it again, there are some important points to be learned here from Big Z's reaction to the injury. This man has had enough foot problems to test the most patient of souls -- they almost ended his career in the late-'90s -- but those injuries all involved bones. This ailment is far different, so much so that Ilgauskas imagines that it's eating his foot from the inside like some kind of structural defect. He speaks of it as far more insidious than a mere freak injury, even though it's much more a matter of chance than a broken foot.

Injuries are a fact of professional athletics, especially for insanely tall men. However, a new one can surprise even someone who's been through as much as Zydrunas, a man who seems to have come to terms with his weak feet. It's a potent reminder that a career in basketball is an emotional test as well as a physical one.