Ed Davis can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But it’s still another 10 days before the Raptors No. 13 overall selection in last year’s draft can engage in any contact drills and at least another two weeks (and that is Davis’ best-case scenario, not the team’s) after that before he could get into a game.
For this 21-year-old, the past five weeks have been one huge exercise in frustration.
“It’s been very hard,” Davis said. “Very hard.”
A meniscus tear in his right knee suffered back on Sept. 15 while playing in a pick-up game in Mississauga necessitated arthroscopic surgery a few days later.
While the rest of the Raptors have learned each other’s tendencies and coach Jay Triano’s aggressive defensive schemes, Davis has been relegated to a mere observer.
The rookie, unlike a veteran of numerous training camps such as Erick Dampier, who appears to be angling to join a new team only once the pre-season ends, Davis very much wanted and needed the pre-season experience.
Instead his training camp has consisted of shooting drills with whichever member of the Raptors coaching staff happens to be handy prior to practice. That is invariably followed by the short walk to the adjoining weight room for plenty of alone time while his teammates go through practice.
“It’s tough just lifting weights all the time,” Davis said. “I mean, I’m a basketball player, not a weight lifter.”
Even the games have been tortuous to a degree, particularly the one’s at home which he can actually attend.
Torturous in that it’s a constant reminder of what he’s missing but not all together useless either.
Davis considers himself a pretty decent observer and has become a bit of an expert watching various NBA vets prepare for a game.
“You can tell when the game begins, who is ready to play and who is not,” Davis said. “You can see how guys get mentally focussed during warmups and before the game.”
When that time eventually comes that Davis is out there with them warming up for a game, he’ll take the knowledge he has gleaned from all this watching and apply it to his own pre-game preparation.
“That has taught me the importance of preparing before the game and not just when it’s time for me to go in,” he said. “Really the whole day is about preparing for the game that night.”
Davis just wishes he had that opportunity right now.
Yesterday, while his teammates were getting ready for a flight to Montreal for the final pre-season game, Davis stayed behind, got in some extra time in the weight room and a little more treatment for his knee.
For the game Friday night he’ll make his way over to the MLSEL-owned Real Sports Bar and Grill and yet again watch his teammates play hoping to pick up whatever pointers he can.
“I have someone with me, someone from the organization or a friend, you know the ladies love me,” he says actually smiling for the first time during the conversation. The smiles though don’t come often.
Davis is asked how he remains sane doing everything but the one thing he really wants to do.
“I’ve got my family and a strong inner circle and they’ve been here off an on,” he said. “My mom, dad, sister, cousins — they come up whenever they get the chance.”
Even bonding with his teammates has taken a backseat to recovering from this injury. Davis could be heading out with his teammates following the home games but says he chooses to head home and get as much sleep as possible hoping that will speed up the healing process.
“Just trying to get better, however I can,” Davis said.
And praying the next few weeks fly by as quickly as possible.