Critics of Rochester Knighthawks star John Grant Jr. might want to chat with the Peterborough native's doctor.
Slagged by some fans because he had never won a major lacrosse championship, Grant ignored his doctor's suggestion to sit out this past summer season after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament last January.
That difficult decision may end up being the turning point in the big man's career. Grant, 30, led his Peterborough Lakers to a Mann Cup title and his personal momentum has carried over to the National Lacrosse League season.
Grant leads the NLL in scoring with 60 points heading into a key East Division game tonight between the Knighthawks (5-3) and the Toronto Rock (4-2) at the Air Canada Centre.
"The doctor said I shouldn't risk it, but I did anyway," Grant said. "It ended up working out really well, especially after (the major flood) in Peterborough last summer. The city really rallied around us and it was the greatest month of my life."
The 6-foot-2, 224-pound Grant wondered whether his career might be over after suffering the season-ending knee injury in a game against the Rock last January. Just four months earlier, he suffered a serious injury to his right leg while playing summer ball for the Coquitlam Adanacs.
"I was working hard and I got back and the team was playing pretty well and then the knee thing happened," Grant said. "It kind of threw my world for a loop. I didn't really do anything for a while. I just hung around and sulked for a bit."
But things have improved dramatically, thanks in large part to the Mann Cup win.
"I was always a good lacrosse player, but there was always that question of 'Can I ever win?,'" the fifth-year pro said. "It was wearing down on me."
This season, Grant has scored a highlight-reel overtime winner against the Rock and has had two 10-plus point games, including a nine-goal performance against the Philadelphia Wings last week. He has 30 goals and 30 assists.
"He's got the best stick in the game and he's a big, strong guy," Rock defender Glenn Clark said. "He's strong enough to run over you."