Budinger Takes Next Step In Recovery, Returns To Minnesota

Budinger Takes Next Step In Recovery, Returns To Minnesota




This is Chase Budinger’s second go-around at knee rehabilitation in the last calendar year, so he has an idea of the types of activities he needs to do and how he should spend his time while working his way back on the court. But it never hurts to have a little encouragement along the way.

So….

“I’ve actually had some help from my family—a lot of books,” Budinger said. “I remember my uncle sent me like 10 books all about ‘the mental game,’ ‘staying ready,’ all that stuff. So I’ve been reading those in my downtime.”

Those are nice, but nothing can substitute being back in the Twin Cities with his teammates as he works closer toward getting back for good. Budinger returned to Minnesota late last week and was on the bench at Target Center in street clothes while the Wolves beat the Celtics 106-88 on Saturday, and he was in practice gear doing light shooting during the team’s practice on Monday.

It was his first workout with the team since before Training Camp. Budinger underwent a procedure on his left knee on Oct. 1. He tore the meniscus in that same knee last November, causing him to miss all but 23 games a year ago. After feeling discomfort in the knee in late-September, Budinger underwent another procedure on the knee performed by Dr. James Andrews.

He spent his time between the surgery and returning to Minnesota in Pensacola, Fla., where he worked his way up to straight-line running and shooting while also doing exercises to help build strength in his left leg and knee. But Budinger admitted it gets lonely away from the team, and he’s excited to be back in this next phase of his recovery.

“It feels great just to be back, be around the team,” Budinger said. “You know, coming to the game the other night. It feels like I’m part of the team again. All the guys are very encouraging, and you know, very positive with everything.”

Budinger said the biggest reason for rehabbing in Florida near the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine was because it allowed him to have a full-time trainer focused on him while the Wolves’ team trainers could focus exclusively on the team itself. While he was away, he worked his way up to the shooting and treadmill running by doing under-water treadmill work.

Coach Rick Adelman said Budinger won’t immediately begin traveling with the team, but that could happen within the next couple weeks. In the meantime, simply having him back around is an important first step.

“It’s always good, yeah, it’s always good to see what we’re doing and he’ll be around the team,” Adelman said. “He got hurt before we even had Training Camp, you know, so we really didn’t see him a lot.”

Adelman said the name of the game is taking it slow, but from his understanding there hasn’t been any swelling in the knee and everything is going according to plan.

“He’ll probably ease back into it,” Adelman said. “They’ll just take it as what they feel is the best as far as progression goes.”

That’s fine with Budinger. He’s grateful to be back around his teammates, and he’ll continue to keep building strength and confidence in his knee from here. He’s been through this process before, so he knows the importance of making sure the knee is ready before pushing it too much.

“I kind of know what to feel in my leg, and you know the process of just when to be ready, when to be able to start playing again,” Budinger said. “The second time is a little easier.”


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