Shaun Livingston: Not Broken

Shaun Livingston had a knee injury so gruesome they warn viewers before they show it on TV.

There was, and still is, talk that he would never play again. I remember hoping that he had taken good care of his money thus far in his career.

In yesterday's L.A. Times, Kurt Streeter catches up with Livingston. It's pretty much all good news. The young man is said to be in firm control of his finances with some real estate investments in Chicago. And the prognosis looks about as good as it could for a return.

Streeter also describes what happened to Livingston in the moments after the famous injury.

The next thing he knew he was in an ambulance with a Clippers trainer and Art Jones, a longtime friend. Livingston was still in his white, blue and red Clippers jersey, soaked with sweat. His knee was so swollen that he couldn't put on his warmups. It's just a dislocated kneecap, he thought. Four weeks of therapy, and he'd be back on the court.

Outside the emergency room at Centinela Hospital Medical Center, in a gruff part of Inglewood, he heard screams from another ambulance. He figured they were from someone who had been shot. Jones leaned into his ear and spoke of how fortunate he was, how so many black men his age ended up in hospitals with bullet holes instead of bad knees. Shaun Livingston nodded. He understood.

Inside the hospital, his knee was scanned for nerve and artery damage. He and Jones still can't shake the memory of what the doctors said: Part of his left leg might have to be amputated. He tried to fathom it. Minutes before he'd been playing an NBA game. Now he had to think about having part of his leg cut off. "It was pretty devastating," he said.

"But, really, it was so crazy I just laughed. What else could I do?"

The way he figured it, everything was out of his hands. So he sat in a small, windowless room with Jones, eating Popeyes chicken and watching TV. On the screen were Clippers highlights. When a camera showed his layup, he turned away.