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Mike Dunleavy Jr. Is Itching to Get Back On the Court

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This post was written by Tim Gunter of 790 the Zone in Atlanta. Mike Dunleavy Jr. has had a promising career in the NBA after being drafted 3rd overall by the Golden State Warriors. The last few seasons haven’t been too good to him as he has been battling injuries. Last season he had a bone spur removed from his right knee which kept him from playing all but 18 games last season.  He is now rehabbing his knee and hoping that he will soon regain the strength he once had. The waiting around isn’t something Dunleavy is used to. He missed a total of 11 games his first six NBA seasons. It has been especially difficult for him because he was coming off a career-best performance. He is a crafty, versatile offensive player who has really come into his own and has shown how good he can be in the right setting.  The wing combination of Dunleavy and Danny Granger was expected to carry the Pacers last season but that was cut short. For now Mike will just have to play the waiting game until his knee has fully recovered. Whatever the outcome, let’s just hope they give him time to recover fully (if that’s possible) and don’t risk his long-term future by bringing him back too soon. Mike Dunleavy recently joined 1070 the Fan in Indy to talk about his health, a realistic timetable for his return, the possibility that he will be back in first half of next season, how frustrating it has been with the injuries, whether he has done any hazing to Tyler Hansbrough, and one thing that he has learned from Larry Bird.

On how he is feeling:

“I am doing well. My rehabilitation is going well so far. I think we are all pleased with where I am at and all in all I feel very good.”

On a realistic timetable for his return:

“I think we a little undecided on that. I mean right now the most immediate thing, training camp starts Saturday and I am going to be able to do some stuff. I am going to participate and build my way up from there and we will see where it ends up. We never put a timeframe on it but considering with where I am at we are all very pleased.”

On the possibility that he will be back in first half of next season:

“I hope so. I think there is a good chance. There is also a chance I could walk across the street and get hit by a car so who knows?”

On how frustrating it has been with the injuries:

“Well the only frustrating thing for me was after 2 seasons ago and everything went so well. I finally figured things out. I was on the rise and to come back last season for training camp and go through all that I went through in trying to come back and not workout and have to go through this surgery. That was disappointing but after I had the surgery it’s been all positive.  I knew it was a chance for me to get better and to improve myself better than I ever have. I looked at it as a good thing and I haven’t looked back.”

On whether he has done any hazing to Tyler Hansbrough:

“Oh he has got it coming. We haven’t done anything yet but you best believe that he has something coming.  I think Tyler is a good sport so he will understand. He is a competitive guy so he probably won’t take it but as a rookie he doesn’t have a choice.”

One thing that he has learned from Larry Bird:

“One of the things maybe more so that I learned about Larry is that I didn’t realize you can’t tell watching TV is he is such a big guy.  He is 6’8’’. I am not saying he is 7’ tall. His size, his big hands, his backside. I mean he is a big guy and you can tell why he averaged all of those rebounds and was so good inside and outside. I mean you are just blow away by how big of a specimen he is.”

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