#TeamCarroll Update: Open Letter From #JYD2Point0

#TeamCarroll Update: Open Letter From #JYD2Point0

May 30th, 2016 | by demarreadmin | Uncategorized

To My Fans:
It’s only been a couple of days since the end of our playoff season, but I can still hear the chants and cheers from game #6 in my head. I cannot express how much gratitude and appreciation I have for all this support for myself, the team, and the organization.
We, as players, felt the unity, support, and love from all of y’all from every point of this country and the globe. Whether you might be cheering at the Air Canada Centre, Jurassic Park, at the comfort of your home, or shooting me a note on social media – your positiveness all adds up and helped to guide us through history making moments.
 

1.jpeg(Photo Credit: Toronto Star)

You, the fans, are the fuel that powers us every game – especially during this historic playoff run. No matter where we were, Miami, Indiana, or Cleveland, we knew that we did not need to look far to feel and see the #WeTheNorth support.

2.jpeg(Photo Credit: Raptors Rapture, Lindsay Dunn)

The day I signed with the Toronto Raptor was one of the happiest and nervous days of my life. I was put in a situation to help a Franchise grow and be a key piece to meet the objective. I had opportunities to sign somewhere else for a bigger contract but that wasn’t the ideal situation. I had to make a decision between two franchises and I chose Toronto. The reason I chose Toronto was because they had a team that I felt could get to the next level. They also had loyal fans that support their team through ups and downs. I felt the city of Toronto had more to offer in so many ways.

3.jpeg(Photo Credit: Toronto Raptors)

My first day as a Raptor, I was so happy and truthfully, I had some nervous feelings. It felt like going to a new school and not knowing anyone. It was a great learning experience for my family and I. The first couple of days were great and very positive. I started to feel like I belong on this team. We started the season and went on a 5-0 game winning streak. I felt I was playing at a level where I was getting more and more comfortable. The game against New Orleans Pelican, I remembered one play. I grabbed an offensive board and put it back. While I was in the air I was shoved and remembered landing awkwardly. My knee buckled and I felt instant pain. I shook it off, shot my free throw and didn’t think anything of it. The next morning I woke up to a swollen knee.

4.jpeg(Photo Credit: Globe and Mail)

 
We all thought it was just a little sprain. My pain tolerance is so high just because of what I’ve been through in my life. (Being shot, my liver condition, broken nose and pinky, etc.)  I kept playing knowing my knee was swollen and it didn’t seem to get any better. We played a couple weeks later and remember hitting my knee with a Clippers player going through a screen at end of first half. The same knee that was already swollen. This time the pain was sharp but more intense.  I realized at that point something is seriously wrong. I attempted to play through it but wasn’t playing at a level of satisfaction. I was only a shell of myself which affected me mentally. The medical staff eventually told me we need to go see the doctor. Hours later, I saw the doctor and immediately after seeing him he couldn’t believe I was playing on this knee. He identified surgery was needed the next day for faster recovery. This was one of my saddest days because of the fact I never had surgery of this nature during my playing career. I got the surgery and proceeded with rehab.
The team was playing good basketball while I was recovering. After months of recovering, my knee was still was very swollen. I thought to myself, do I rush back quick or do I need another surgery? The swelling was inhibiting my movement and I couldn’t bend my leg fully.
The medical staff with the Raptors, especially Alex, was great. They did everything they could for me and worked numerous hours a day to help me get better. I eventually had to fly over the country to see 5 doctors in a matter of 3 days. The deadline of me coming back was looking very unsure. I told myself if I didn’t get at least 3 games before playoffs I was not coming back. The knee was still not looking good leading up to those games. All the doctors gave me their feedback and I had to make a decision. The medical staff and management didn’t want me to risk it because everyone was thinking long term, all awhile, I was thinking of not letting a City who supported me from day one and a team who look at me as a leader down.
I knew playoffs was the biggest reason behind my signing. I had all these things running through my mind. I told myself …if I can walk, then I can play. Days leading to my deadline, I told everybody I will play. I didn’t care about the swelling or anything I wanted to play.  I played a couple games and I really didn’t have any rhythm or confidence. All I knew was, I was going to play as hard as I could for as long as I could. I knew my knee was not fully recovered but I was not going to let anybody down. We went into playoffs and I didn’t know what I was in store for. I didn’t know how many minutes I was going to play, if I was capable of playing at a playoff level or even if coach trusted me after missing so many games. All I knew was, I had to come out and try my hardest.

5.jpeg(Photo Credit: CBC)

First playoff game we lost, with me playing 18-20 min. I was so disappointed with myself and was questioning whether or not I made the right decision of coming back and playing even though I knew…. I’m not healthy. Eventually, I got text from my teammates who expressed….we need you to start. We don’t care how healthy you are. We want you to start because you are valuable to our team 100 percent or not. Those calls gave me the confidence and helped me mentally in so many ways. I got the start and we won next 2 games. We went on to win the series but I was hit with nagging injuries every game.

6.jpeg(Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

I started to feel my body was not ready for post season. I iced and did rehab every day. I was the last person out of the training room every day. I would come back every night just to ice and rehab. My body was not holding up because of the intensity I play and for missing so much time. We eventually made it through 2 series of game 7s and went on to the Eastern Conference finals.

7.jpeg(Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

The very first game, I get hit with another injury….the elbow on my shooting arm. We get blown out on the first game and I played poorly on the biggest stage. I question if I could play the remaining games of the series because of my elbow but I told myself I came too far to give up. My body was in physical distress but mentally I had to stay positive.

8.jpeg(Photo Credit: Getty Images, Dave Sandford)

We eventually lost the series against Cleveland and I played not to my liking. I understand the risk I put my body in but I felt the risk was worth the reward. I felt I owed this not only to my team but to the City and Country all I could give. I say this “I gave all I could give” because my body was not at its best but my HEART was at its best. If I had to do it all over, I would risk my body again for this City, Country, and for this team.
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