One of the worst things any athlete can experience is receiving an injury to any part of the body. Whether it be a fracture, tear, or a strain, it’s difficult for both the person who sustained it and the people who support this person.
The LaSallian was fortunate enough to interview Samuel, his physical therapists Marco Villanueva and Eleazar “Teddy” Fabian, and head coach Louie Gonzales regarding the Jones fracture injury Samuel sustained.
Less than a minute into the second quarter, Samuel leaped and grabbed his second rebound of the headed but accidentally hurt his right foot while landing. His first few steps after passing the ball to Aljun Melecio indicated that he was hurting. “I just felt it, and I knew that something was wrong,” Samuel shared.
A few seconds later, Samuel was subbed out of the game, went to the locker room, and had the medical staff check on his right foot. After the game, he was sent to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City and had his right foot x-rayed. The results showed that he had suffered a Jones fracture on the right foot, consequently meaning that he would be sidelined for a while. “And just having a blow like that, it just breaks my heart cause I hate watching, I hate sitting on the sidelines. Having that feeling that I can do something but not being able to do it—it was tough,” Samuel shared.
A Jones fracture is the fracture of the fifth metatarsal of the foot, which is at the pinky toe. The metatarsal bones are the long bones in a person’s foot that connect the ankle to the toes. This type of injury can either be treated with or without the use of surgery.
In the case of Samuel’s injury, it was decided that he would undergo surgery immediately after the x-ray results because of several reasons.; one of which is to make the timetable of return more predictable. Physical Therapist Fabian said, “Kapag hindi ka nag-surgery, minimum mo is eight weeks to 12 weeks of recovery.” Undergoing the surgery would reduce the time of recovery to six to 10 weeks.
(If you don’t receive surgery, the minimum period of rehabilitation is eight to 12 weeks.)
The rehab of Samuel’s right foot began on October 9, two weeks after he underwent a successful surgery. The surgery took place on the fourth week of September because of time constraints.
Before the surgery had taken place, Samuel was advised by the medical team to rest. Once the surgery was done, both physical therapists Fabian and Villanueva said that they focused on the strengthening of the upper body. At the start of the recovery, the medical staff focused on hip strengthening and the core. “Dun kami nagsimula para may foundation,” Fabian added.
(That’s where we started so that we have a foundation to build upon.)
On October 22, the doctor allowed Samuel to remove the cast and put weight on his injured foot; before this he can already walk without using crutches but had to wear a cast. “He can freely walk without the boot. He can do whatever [he] wants to [do]. He can walk, ‘yun nga lang no running [and] no jumping,” Fabian shared.
As for the difficulties encountered in the rehabilitation process, Fabian said he had no problems whatsoever, but it was Samuel who faced obstacles because it has been a while since he had exercised without any support in his legs.
Fabian mentioned, “It’s very evident when we do our exercises [that] he’s really struggling.” He added, “It’s been a while, it’s been a month na ngayon lang siya nakakapaglakad ng walang boot.”
(It’s been a while, he can finally walk without using the boot after one month of using it.)
As for the mental state of Samuel, Fabian commented that Samuel is healthy and that he has been optimistic during the rehab, relentlessly pushing himself to improve. Fabian cited that even though Samuel’s rehab was done for the day, he always asks for additional exercises to do.
Throughout the entire ordeal, the factors that kept Samuel motivated was his love for the game of basketball, his love for the Green Archers, and the respect that he has for the coaching staff.
With less than a month left remaining in the elimination round of the tournament, both his physical therapists and head coach agree that Samuel will most likely be able to play on the last game of the second round, against the UP Fighting Maroons or at the semifinals, if the Green Archers make the Final Four.
The mindset that Samuel will have in his first game back from the injury is that he will be a different person, a different player. “I’m not taking any chances. I’m just gonna do the best I can and get us to that championship game,” he stated.