Shumpert, out since the beginning of training camp with a ruptured extensor carpi ulnaris sheath in his right wrist, has been “aggressively attacking his rehab, more so than any player I’ve ever seen,” Cavs general manager David Griffin told ESPN.com.
Shumpert said his rehabilitation routine mimics his style of play, which is why he isn’t ashamed of his injury history. He would rather play hard and risk injury than take his foot off the gas to protect himself.
“With the way I play, I just realize in my mind, I’m going to get hurt,” Shumpert told ESPN.com before the Cavs visited the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. “It’s just how I play. I run through screens. I run and jump the whole game. I don’t take plays off.”
And he doesn’t take days off when it comes to working on his wrist in the effort to get back on the court.
“I’m going to come in, I’m going to work out,” Shumpert said. “Sometimes I work out a little too much, that puts a lot of stress on my body. So, I’m going to get hurt. That’s just going to happen. So, when I get hurt, I just try to go as hard as I can to make sure I get better.”
Indeed, Cleveland coach David Blatt said the team has had to intervene when Shumpert has tried to do too much.
“He’s really champing at the bit,” Blatt said. “He wants to get back out there, to the point where we have to literally hold him back. It’s impressed me that from Day 1 he has been so conscientious and so motivated in terms of not only his rehab, but maintaining the great condition that he had coming into the preseason. He had worked very, very hard this summer, and he’s maintained that. And of course, he’s rehabilitated it in the best possible way.
“But we've got to be very careful with Shump, because he is not patient. He wants to play. And we got to make sure that we put him back out there when he’s truly ready to play.”
Shumpert tweeted on Tuesday that he reached a significant stage in his rehab.
Took a step today. Very big step. Improve everyday guys. Let whatever fuels YOU, fuel you. #justtoucheddownintoronto— Iman Shumpert I (@imanshumpert) November 24, 2015
Asked to explain the tweet on Wednesday, Shumpert revealed, “I was able to do more action with the ball as far as shooting.”
He had already been practicing ballhandling drills, but it was the first time he had tested his wrist with form shooting drills around the basket. When asked how his wrist felt a day after getting the shots up, Shumpert said, “It’s cool.”
The initial timeline for Shumpert’s recovery was set at 12 to 14 weeks, which would put him back on the court sometime between late December and mid-January.
At this point, Shumpert will almost assuredly beat that time frame, barring any setback.
Is the Cavs’ Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors on Christmas a motivator?
“I ain’t trying to make no certain game,” Shumpert said. “I just want to come back healthy, and I want to come back with the stuff that I worked on all summer. So I want to make sure that I get it back for the most part before I come back. I don’t want to come back and be trying to get in shape or trying to get my handle right. I want to come back and have stuff right already.”
After having missed 37 games in his career with a torn ACL, 20 games with a dislocated shoulder and now 15 games and counting because of his wrist injury, Shumpert knows that a player isn’t defined by how much he gets hurt, but by how he responds to getting hurt by continuing to play while throwing caution to the wind.
“I just came to the realization, it’s just part of what I got to do,” Shumpert said. “If I was out here trying to just score, or get 20 [points] and chill out, then I probably wouldn’t get hurt as much. But nobody would want me if I was just out here doing that. So I got to go hard.”