Denton: Redick Shares Nutrition Advice

By John Denton
June 14, 2011


ORLANDO – There’s not a more natural pick to be a spokesman for a new Orlando Magic program to end childhood hunger with a balanced diet and a fitness regiment than shooting guard J.J. Redick, an amateur chef and a gym rat who doesn’t feel right physically unless he’s sweated through a workout.

But considering his frustrating physical condition over the last three months stemming from an abdominal injury, Redick has reluctantly had to curtail his sweat sessions on the basketball court and in the weight room.

Redick is still recovering from a surgery two weeks ago to repair two tears in his lower abdomen – an injury that originally occurred on March 11 as the Magic were preparing to face the Golden State Warriors. Redick missed the final 17 games of the regular season, but returned for the first-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks. The Magic’s best reserve was a shell of himself in that series as the abdominal injury lingered, and he ultimately decided to have surgery earlier this month when the pain in his midsection persisted.

That has kept Redick out of the gym, and quite frankly, the inactivity is killing a person who credits his arduous offseason work for helping him become the player he is today.

``It’s been more than three months since my (injury) and I’ve played basketball for two weeks and didn’t play well and was in discomfort while I played,’’ Redick said. ``So it’s been a frustrating three months for me. I’m just looking forward to being healthy and in my normal life, which is being in the gym.’’

Redick, who was recognized in the past as the Magic’s most physically fit athlete, was at Goldenrod Orange County Orlando Magic Community Gym on Tuesday to promote the Magic’s partnership with Florida Hospital and the Florida Partnership to End Childhood Hunger. Redick and Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw spoke to approximately 50 children at the gymnasium about how eating a well-balanced diet has helped to make them better NBA players.

In an effort to provide food to children throughout the summer months while they are out of school, the Magic are promoting the ``Summer Break Spots’’ program that is a part of the federally funded Summer Nutrition Program. The plan provides meals and snacks to low-income children during the summer months.

Only one in seven low-income children who depended on the National School Lunch Program during the 2009-10 school year had access to meals in 2010. For many of them, the end of the school year meant the end to healthy, nutritious meals.

Redick, whose mother is a nutritionist in Roanoke, Va., was raised having healthy meals provided for him, and he joined this program to make sure that others have the same. An aspiring chef who experiments with different meals almost on a nightly basis, Redick credits eating right to helping him become a stronger, leaner athlete.

``There’s been a lot of talk recently about nutrition and meals for kids and what they eat in school and what they eat during the summer. I think it’s a great program that the Magic are doing and it’s widely available,’’ Redick said. ``Nutrition is a big part of my life and it always has been. My mother is a nutritionist, so we always ate well. As I’ve gotten older I’ve focused on staying in shape year round and I’ve become disciplined in what I eat and eating right.’’

Redick was in the midst of his finest season as a pro last season, averaging a career-best 10.1 points in the first 59 games. He shot a solid 44.1 percent from the floor and 39.7 percent from the 3-point line while playing significant minutes for the Magic.

But everything changed on March 11 when Redick felt a searing pain in his abdomen during the Magic’s morning practice in Oakland. He made repeated attempts to return over the next five weeks, but was unable to overcome the pain.

He returned in time for the playoffs, an ugly series in which the Magic lost to the Atlanta Hawks in six games. Clearly out of sync with his jump shot, Redick made just 15 of 42 shots and only one of 15 tries from 3-point range during the series. To make matters worse, Redick missed a wide-open 3-pointer in the final minute of Game 6 that could have evened the score – a bitter taste that he’s had to live with all offseason.

``At the time I felt like I was moving well. I don’t feel like I was restricted. I do feel like I was rusty and not in a rhythm,’’ Redick said. ``But I don’t think I would have changed anything. If I would have seen Dr. Meyers and he would have recommended the surgery, I don’t think I would have done it (and missed the playoffs). I would have just tried to play through it. Still, it’s not an excuse for me going 1 for 15 from three. I just want to get to a point where I feel normal again and I’m getting there.’’

Redick is hopeful that the NBA Players Association and the owners can work out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement before June 30 when the current deal expires. He said that even if there is a work stoppage – one that will prohibit players from working out at team facilities – he’ll find a place to get in his rehabilitation work and be ready when next season starts. Returning to his alma mater at Duke – something Redick has done in the past – is a distinct possibility.

``There won’t be a change in what I do, but there will be a change in where and who I do it with. That’s something I’m figuring out – who I’m going to train with,’’ he said. ``I’ve basically stayed in Orlando every summer since I’ve been in the league except for the six weeks at Duke. The Duke thing is an option, but they are going to be gone to Dubai and China, so I’ll have to figure it out. If there’s a prolonged lockout I can see myself spending some time up in Durham (N.C.).’’

Redick said the first-round exit from the playoffs motivated him and his Magic teammates to work even harder this offseason. He said he didn’t take exception to Magic star center Dwight Howard’s comments that the team might need to change the roster in order to be championship contenders once again.

``As a professional athlete, the onus is on you to take responsibility. As his teammates, we feel we could have done things better. I think we all have areas where we can improve,’’ Redick said. ``I don’t know what Dwight’s future is in Orlando and I’m not going to speculate on that, but I hope he stays and I hope I stay here. At the end of every season, I try to assess what I did well and what I didn’t do well. I look to continue to improve in my strengths and improve on my weaknesses.’’

John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. E-mail John at jd41898@aol.com. Submit a question to John for his mailbag segment at AskJD@orlandomagic.com.