Chris Wilcox 'pushed the limits of rehab' in his recovery from heart surgery

Earlier this week, Jessica Camerato of CSNNE had an awesome piece on Chris Wilcox recovery from last season's heart surgery. In the piece, Wilcox spoke about his March, 2012 surgery, and how he was literally racing against the clock to complete his rehab schedule in time for NBA camp. The Celtics back-up big man pushed himself so hard at point, that he ended up back in the hospital. From Camerato's article (link).

"It's crazy because I had surgery the end of March, almost like the first of April," he said. "When I got out of the hospital it was April 3 or something like that. April, May, June, July, I had to start back working out four months after my surgery when I wasn't supposed to do anything until probably like six months. So I'm back working out running and I'm not even supposed to."

He continued, "[The doctors didn't really know what I was doing], but I had to do what I had to do to get back on the court. Nobody knew. The doctor was just like, 'Man, things are coming around so much quicker for you' because I was like, 'I've got to get out of (rehab).'"

Wilcox tested his limits. At times his mental strength outlasted his physical endurance.

"One time I was working out and I get home and I'm sitting down in the bed and I'm like, damn, I'm hurting, I'm hurting, I'm hurting," he recalled. "I went to the hospital and they told me I had to calm down, chill out, I was doing too much. I had built fluid up around my heart. I had fluid pockets around my heart and my lungs from being out in the weather probably when I wasn't supposed to, working out, just different things. That was probably two and a half months, three months after the surgery. I had to get on a breathing [mechanism] and I had to take medicine to get the fluid pockets down. It's been tough, you know?"

I can remember thinking that Wilcox was coming back awfully quick from a major operation, but I had no idea just how much he was putting his body through. It's worth noting that Jeff Green had his operation in Mid-January, about two and a half months before Wilcox.

Wilcox also spoke about how nervous he was that an NBA team would even give his agent a call, at one point wondering if his time in the NBA was finished.

"I think my lowest moment was when I was home in recovery, not knowing if I was going to play again," he said. "I was knowing Jeff (Green) was back playing, but I knew everyone's situation is different. I was like, 'Jeff is young so they might take a chance with (him) and look at me as being the older guy, no chance at all."

Obviously Wilcox did end up getting a call from Danny Ainge, but you can't blame him for taking a long, hard look at his NBA mortality. 30 year big men coming off of major heart surgery aren't exactly a commodity that NBA clubs are salivating over, but thankfully for Wilcox, the C's gave him a chance.

Camerato had a lot of great stuff about Wilcox rehab and recovery in the article, I definitely recommend taking a look at it. One thing that I took from the piece was that Wilcox is just now rounding into form. Think about it, he came back 2-3 months earlier than expected, and then in December he injured his thumb, causing him to miss nearly a month. Throw in Jared Sullinger's impressive rookie season - and it wasn't until the trade of Jason Collins at the deadline that Wilcox finally got an extended chance to make an impact. In 6 games since the trade, Wilcox is averaging 6 points and 4.5 boards, while shooting nearly 70% from the field. Efficient numbers for a guy that is playing just 19 minutes a night. Considering Sullinger is now out for the season, and Collins is in Washington, Wilcox is now the one true 'NBA caliber' big man coming off the bench for the C's. Thankfully he seems to finally be healthy, and ready to make a consistent impact for the team.

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