Andrew Bogut Discusses His Injured Ankle: “I Feel Like I’ve Let People Down”

The Golden State Warriors are making do without their new center, and they’d better get used to it. Andrew Bogut’s surgically-repaired ankle didn’t respond well early in his first season with the Warriors, and now the Australian big man is out indefinitely as he rehabs again. He insists the ankle didn’t suffer any sort of setback, but that isn’t making Bogut any less frustrated. Andrew Bogut joined Tom Tolbert and Ray Ratto on KNBR in San Francisco to discuss his injured ankle and the circumstances surrounding, the injury, the surgery, his recovery and the frustration the injury is causing him.

On how his injured ankle is feeling:

“It’s all right. Just trying to get some better range of motion and some better strength in it, and obviously get some swelling out. But it’s progressing decently.”

On playing on the ankle during the first four games of the season:

“I probably wanted to go out there and just see how it felt. To be honest, the first game or two it didn’t feel too bad and the issue was that, ever since I’ve been back on the court, which was late-October, the bar was going up each week, it was getting better and better. Once more games started to happen, the bar kind of flat-lined and I wasn’t getting my range of motion, wasn’t staying as it should everyday. And then it affected my running and affected my strength and my forciveness and the push-off power I have with that ankle. So that’s when we decided to give it a week or two and try to get it strong and see where we’re at.”

On the decision to shut things down:

“Every morning there’s a couple measurements we do to see the flexibility of the ankle, post-game, next morning. And after the last few games I’ve lost a lot of range of motion, which was a sign that the ankle obviously wasn’t holding up as well as should. The pain side of things wasn’t that high. I’ve played through pain before and it’s not a problem. The issue was I see a rebound, I go to push off my ankle to go and grab that rebound and it happens three seconds later. It kind of feels like everything’s happening after I tell my ankle, ‘Hey, look at that ball,’ and it doesn’t happen. So that’s when I knew I’m probably not gonna be helping my team too much out there on one leg, and obviously could probably do something stupid along the way. So that’s when we thought to just give it a couple weeks.”

On if he felt an added sense of pressure to play at the beginning of the season after being acquired by the Warriors in the offseason:

“The organization has been supportive of everything that I’ve decided to do and there was no pressure at all. The pressure was almost myself, in my head with boxing gloves just punching my brain around. All those things that you just mentioned definitely went through my head leading into the season. And obviously it was a big trade and Monta was a big part of the organization, a fan favorite. So I wanted to be out there and show that I’d be ready for the season and it just hasn’t worked out. It’s been frustrating, disappointing, but I think the biggest hurdle and obstacle out of all this, and the biggest pressure was myself, that I put on myself. So I need to understand that these things take time and it’s a pretty significant surgery that I had, and just let nature take its course.”

On how he’ll know when he’s ready to go:

“Practicing three, four, five days consecutively at an intense pace. We want to try and push it to the point of where it would be in a game, and then obviously come in the next morning and do the stretching exercises and measurements, and see if it holds up. And if it’s consistent, then you do it again, you do it again, you do it again until we have a consistency every morning where it feels the same and it’s not taking a step backwards. So when that happens, that will be the sign that I’m ready to be out there and be ready to contribute. And obviously the other one is just being out there and knowing that you can move freely. I can jump for a rebound and get it, and I can block a shot and I can use good footwork in the post to score. Right now I’m kind of one-dimensional. All I’m doing is really running up and down the floor and try and be as positive defensively as I could, but I knew defensively I couldn’t move well in the post, couldn’t get around anybody. I was just kind of shooting over guys, and that’s detrimental to the team and to myself.”

On having to watch the team play while hurt:

“I can’t stand it. It drives me crazy, and it’s probably the most frustrating thing. And I think most athletes will say the same thing. When you’re sitting on the bench in a suit, you feel vulnerable. You see guys out there and you know you can help, and obviously you can’t physically. So it’s very frustrating and something that I’ve learnt to try and deal with but I don’t deal with well. You can deal with it — I’m still alive, I’m still breathing — but … I get down about it every now and then and it’s very frustrating. You hear everyone say stay positive you’ll get through it. Yeah, but you still gotta get through it. So the light at the end of the tunnel is close but it’s just not there yet and hopefully once I’m back out there this will be it for me as far as bad luck goes.”

On learning to accept that the injury is a cause of nature:

“I feel like I’ve let people down. I just gotta keep telling myself that it’s nature’s cause when you get hurt and you have a major surgery. That’s life. You can’t change that, but hopefully things will turn around for me.”

On if there have been any setbacks:

“There’s been absolutely no setback. I’ll tell you right now, there’s been no setback whatsoever. It just hasn’t progressed. Six months ago I was under the knife. I was lying on a table and a surgeon was cutting into my ankle. And four-to-five months ago I was walking around in a walking boot. So I’ve basically been out of the boot for four months now and been basically running for about two months. It’s still a long process. It’s frustrating, but just gotta keep working through it.”

On not paying attention to what’s being said about him right now:

“That comes with age. Used to be I read every paper and every article, everything about everybody and knew everything that was going on. I’ve kind of steered away from that, especially in a time like now when I’m hurt. I know what people can think and say, and that’s honest opinions of people. I can’t really change that. I’ve been injury-prone the last couple years but they’ve been high-impact, it’s not an excuse, and that’s just the way it is. I gotta deal with that as a professional athlete. … I’m not trying to get hurt. I’m not trying to sit on the bench and quote-unquote steal money. I want to be out there playing. It hurts me to be getting paid right now and not being able to help my team.”

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