With his right hand still in a hard cast, Larry Sanders is already learning how to depend on his left for everyday tasks, so why not use this as an opportunity to strengthen the non-dominant hand on the court, as well?
Progressing well from the surgery that repaired a torn ligament in his right thumb, Sanders is two weeks into the six-week timetable initially placed on his return.
Sanders is focused on maintaining his conditioning while on the shelf, but Bucks coach Larry Drew recently had a conversation with the big man about working on basketball-related things with his left hand.
When Drew was an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant broke his left wrist in a pick-up basketball game prior to his rookie training camp. Bryant used what seemed to be a setback as a chance to make his right hand even stronger.
Sure, Bryant was working on his dominant hand, but an injury to either hand is a chance to improve the other.
“He went to camp with a cast on his (left) hand,” Drew said. “He and I got up every morning before the team got to the gym and everything we did he did with his right hand. It’s a great way to develop that hand.”
Thus far, Sanders has tossed up some shots with his left hand and plans on continuing to do more over the next couple of weeks.
“Everything I have to do is left-handed now, on and off the court,” Sanders said. “If I do anything on the court it is dribbling and throwing something up at the rim. But everything off the court is with the left hand, so it’s getting more mobile.”
Sanders feels he’s roughly three weeks away from trading the hard cast for a splint. When he returns has a lot to do with when the thumb is strong enough to allow him to catch and hold a basketball.
Because the injury isn’t to his back or legs, Sanders should have no problem staying in shape to be able to jump right in and play without limitation when the thumb is healthy.
“Hopefully his conditioning will still be at a level where he can get out there and get up and down the floor without passing out,” Drew said. “Right now, all he’s doing is a lot of conditioning stuff. When we’re practicing he’s on the sideline running. He’s doing a lot of things that will keep his conditioning up.”
Sanders, who injured the thumb in an altercation at a Milwaukee nightclub in early November, has received positive reports from his surgeons after follow-up visits. Now it’s just about figuring out what he can do to improve without using the right hand.
“Just doing stuff in the weight room, trying to stay even,” Sanders said. “I can still do defensive stuff, agility drills, close-out stuff to keep my joints and my muscles fired.”