Caution: Injured Player

caution signHow can it happen? You’re playing a match and you can see that your opponent comes on the court injured – or hurts themselves during the match – but they still beat you!!

Mind Games

I have had it happen to me on both sides of the issue. Before my biceps tendon snapped, I had been feeling pain hitting my favorite shot – cross court topspin forehands. I thought it was being caused by biceps tendonitis, which it may have been; but backhands, volleys, serves and overheads hardly hurt at all.

So I was playing a singles match with a good Pelican Bay friend, with whom I normally play evenly and split sets. Just out of politeness (NOT playing mind games) I warned him about my injury and that I would mostly be running around my forehand to hit backhands.

Funny Thing

You guessed it… I beat him easily! So, why is that? I think there are two main reasons…

YOUR GAME – Because you know you are injured, you play of very conservative and steady game. I just tried to keep my backhand deep and in play; and when I did have a forehand, I just looped it deep to the corners.

THEIR GAME – One of two things come into play with your opponent. Either they are “too nice” and don’t play their regular game trying to avoid your injury. Or they are “too competitive” and don’t play their regular game trying to take advantage of you injury.

How many times have you thought you had your opponent tired and tried inopportune drop shots, when you should have driven the ball deep? If the injured player compensates by playing steadier and you compensate by not playing how you should, that can often lead to defeat.

What do you think?

Losing a Friend

The tennis world lost another nice guy… retired NY surgeon and tournament player, Freddie (“Q”) Quintans died unexpectedly this week. We mourn another friend gone.

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4 thoughts on “Caution: Injured Player

  1. It is hard to play against an injured player. Some players fake injuries to play mind games with their opponents. If you are really hurt you shouldn’t be on a court. If you are playing with an injury, your opponent should take advantage of your weakness.

    John Newcombe told us at camp, “if you are injured don’t play. If you’re playing you’re not injured.” george

  2. Played in the Naples Cambier Tournament Clay in May and found out 2 weeks ago that I torn my meniscus, it was confirmed by a MRI. Having surgery next Friday the 15th, any advise about returning from this injury? The doctor tells me that I am going to need 4-6 weeks of physical therapy.

    John, i have not had “the pleasure”of any knee surgery; and i am usually a bad example, returning to the court way faster than i am told to. i will hope that others who have experienced that surgery can comment. thanks, george

  3. John, I can comment about your meniscectomy both from a professional standpoint (52 years as an athletic trainer) and personally (I had a medial meniscectomy in 1997). If it is an isolated torn meniscus without another damage, i.e. articular or patella surface problems, it is a fairly benign rehabilitation. You will immediately start with activating the quad muscles with isometric quad sets and straight leg lifts. You might be on crutches for a day or so if you do not have any articular surface damage. The main thing is if you cannot walk without a noticeable limp, you might want to use crutches. The meniscus is actually not repaired but instead the torn part is removed and derided. You will also start some passive/active range of motion, while reducing the swelling (if any) with ice, 15-min. 3-4 times/daily. By the second week, you should be full weight bearing and started more resistant exercises to strengthen your quads, hamstrings, groin, and calf. You can also start some aerobic work on stationary bike or elliptical. You may at this point be able to hit off a wall or have someone feed you balls. The main thing to avoid in the 2-4 week period is any torsion or twisting of the knee which may cause inflammation.

    From a personal standpoint, I was running and playing tennis in 4 weeks without any problems. Remember they are taking our something that is dead and is only irritating the knee. However, it is important to continue to do the strengthening exercises even after you return to play to protect the knee from further damage.

    I hope this helps and good luck.

    Larry, EXCELLENT! Thanks, George

  4. Larry, Thank you for your sharing your expertise and past experience. I plan on following the doctor’s and physical therapy staff advise. I am anxious to return to the tennis court and get moving again but I am make sure my knee is not compromised., so I am going take my time and make sure my leg is strong enough to resume playing.

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