Shaun Livingston knee surgery anniversary reminds us how far he's come

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Marcus White
Twelve years ago Wednesday, Shaun Livingston's current career looked to be an impossibility. But in the ensuing decade-plus, impossible has become routine.
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Shaun Livingston knee surgery anniversary reminds us how far he's come originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com

Twelve years ago Wednesday, Shaun Livingston went under the knife.

Then a high-flying phenom with the Los Angeles Clippers, Livingston underwent surgery to repair tears to the ACL, PCL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee, plus dislocation of his patella, tibia and femur. There were questions whether or not he would walk again, let alone play in the NBA.

Yet, here he is, playing 15 minutes per night for the defending NBA champion Warriors over a decade later.

"It's like a gift and a curse," Livingston told the Los Angeles Times last year. "To have those injuries at a young age, it's like, '[expletive].' But if it's not career-ending, it's a gift because it gives you that awareness. Like, 'Oh, [expletive], I've really got to take care of my body.' As you get older, you see changes happening and beat them to the punch."

Coming to that realization wasn't an easy journey. Livingston missed the entirety of the 2007-08 NBA season while rehabbing his knee, and he played for seven different franchises in the ensuing five seasons.

The 2012-13 season marked a turning point, the veteran guard told the Times last year, and he played 1,455 minutes during that campaign. Those were the most minutes he had played since the season in which he injured his knee in gruesome fashion, and ultimately put Livingston on the path toward the Warriors.

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After breaking out in a big way with the Brooklyn Nets during the 2013-14 season, Livingston signed with Golden State the following summer. He instantly became a fixture on the Warriors' bench, and has remained one in five seasons, playing no fewer than 71 games in each of the last four. 

The 33-year-old won't hit that benchmark this year, but he is still playing 15 minutes per night in his 14th NBA season. Livingston also is a three-time champ, and pursuing his fourth NBA title. Twelve years ago Wednesday, that looked to be an impossibility.

But in the ensuing decade-plus, impossible has become routine.