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David sent him a text:  Don’t “drunk” text people right after surgery.

Jeremy answered with: Whoops, too late! LOL

David: SMH.  You are uncontrollable.

Jeremy: You love me anyway.

David: Yeah, can’t help it.

That woke Jeremy up.  What am I doing?  But then again, it’s David.  They do this sort of verbal banter all the time.   Really should stop texting, Jeremy, he reminded himself.  He’d been out of surgery for a few hours but still feels a bit groggy.

The pain in his left knee that arose during the Piston’s game persisted – despite the fact that he rested it for nearly a week.  Then a few days ago an MRI scan showed a small meniscal tear in his left knee.  It was an unfortunate situation for him and the team. The team was nearing the final stretch towards the Eastern play-offs and so far had been able to temporarily adjust to Jeremy’s absence. But a six-week absence because of surgery would be another thing.  If it were not for the pain and its effect on his jumping and cutting, Jeremy would have chosen to continue playing.

So here he sat – in bed, post-surgery – finally home in his apartment.  Six weeks ahead of him…that’s a long time to wait for results.

Jeremy tried not to dwell too much on it – or on the fact that he barely got a “good luck with the surgery” text or anything from Landry.  That hurt the most – at the moment, he told himself.  You’ll get over it, like any setback you’ve had in the past, he kept telling himself.

The support of family and friends like David, Jared and Chandler had been the only thing that kept Jeremy sane for the last week and half.

And there were his fans.  It still felt weird that so many people care about how he is doing.  All the greetings on his Facebook profile alone overwhelmed Jeremy – hence, the brilliant idea of having a fan Q and A post-surgery.

It’ll probably rain marriage proposals, Jeremy thought with a shake of his head.


Jeremy was allowed anything but to stand up and put pressure on his left knee.  It sucked, he thought, being stuck on his couch on an evening like last night.  The Knicks lost to the Pacers and all Jeremy could do was watch his teammates fight – and lose.

He got a text message from Celena this morning: Hope Landry is taking good care of you. Love Cee.

It took a while before Jeremy figured out what to text her back.  He finally decided to simply write:  Thank you for thinking about me – J.

His mom and dad had been in New York since Jeremy decided to have the knee surgery.  They were with him every step of the way – like they always do.  While his parents took care of dinner preparations, his brothers were currently beating him in various rounds of videogames.  When the doorbell rang, none of the boys budged from the couch.

A hand on his shoulder took Jeremy’s attention from the wide-screen TV.

“Tyson!”  he said, looking up at his teammate.  Tyson Chandler stood behind the couch and right beside him stood – Landry.

“Sorry, I can’t stand up,” laughed Jeremy craning his neck to look at them.

“Hi, Landry,”  Jeremy said, forcing a smile.  I guess I’m not over him yet, Jeremy admitted – there was a little jab of pain in his chest upon seeing Landry.

Landry looked ill at ease, too, despite the smile plastered on his face.  Jeremy enjoyed that.

Josh and Joseph made room on the couch – Tyson sat between Jeremy and Landry.

“Man, we needed you last night,” Tyson began.

Jeremy shrugged, not really sure what he could say to that.

“The team says hello and we have a whole basket full of stuff,” Landry said.

“Thanks,” Jeremy answered with a smile.   I might as well be polite, he thought.  “Be sure to say thank you from me.”

They talked about the team’s loss to the Pacers and the coming challenge of meeting the Magic the following day.  It seemed Tyson was unaware of the undercurrents between Jeremy and Landry.  This was harder than Jeremy ever expected – being just teammates with Landry.

When his phone beeped, Jeremy sighed a breath of relief – something else to concentrate on than the awkwardness of THIS situation.

The text read: Skype.  David.

“What is it?” Tyson asked at the surprised expression on Jeremy’s face.

“David wants to Skype,“ Jeremy told him, while reaching for his IPad.  Sure enough, the Skype message box popped up.  Within a few seconds, a video link was established.

“What’s up, stump?”  David said with a huge grin.

“Look down, totem pole,” answered Jeremy with a laugh.

“I bet your family’s all there,” David said.

“We’re here, too,” Tyson chimed from beside Jeremy.  Jeremy turned the IPad to show David who were sitting with him on the couch

“Hi, guys,” David waved.  Landry and Tyson waved in response.

“Hope I’m not interrupting,” he continued.

Joseph popped up behind Jeremy to say “You just saved Jeremy from getting his butt kicked in 2K12!”

Jeremy swatted at him but missed.  “Don’t mind him.”

“I can’t drop by New York at the moment – too many back-to-back games.  Hope you’re – alright,” David said.  There was a knowing look in his eyes.  Jeremy understood that he was not only referring to Jeremy’s leg, but to the person sitting on the couch beside Tyson.

“I’m getting there,” Jeremy told him, “It still hurts a bit – but surprisingly not too painful anymore.”

David nodded.  “Can I have your mom and dad on screen for a minute?  I’ve missed your mom’s cooking.  I need to haggle a dinner invite,” David grinned.

Josh took the IPad from Jeremy – a few seconds later, they could all hear Jeremy’s parents talking and laughing.

“David is close to your family, huh?” asked Tyson.

“Yeah, he’s a close friend,” Jeremy confirmed.  Landry did not say anything.  “He helped me a lot during my rookie year.  You do know I’m sub-letting this apartment from him, right?”

“Yeah,” said Tyson.

They continued to talk about the surgery and how long Jeremy would be sidelined.   Talking about basketball was apparently Jeremy and Landry’s neutral zone.  For a short while, they were just basketball players discussing their sport.

“Man, I hate that we have to go.  Tomorrow’s going to be a long day,” Tyson ended.

“I understand.  Thanks for coming by,” Jeremy told him.  “Kick ass tomorrow,”

“Make sure you don’t rush rehab, now,” Tyson pointed out.  “You need to be patient.”

Jeremy grinned, “Okay, I promise.”

Tyson gave him a hug – so did Landry, just shorter – which fit Jeremy just fine.

“Take care, Jer,” Landry murmured.  Jeremy merely nodded.

As Josh led them out the door, Joseph came back with the IPad.  Jeremy turned his attention to David.  “You better not gain weight from all the good food your mom was preparing,” David joked.

Jeremy laughed.  Just sitting on the couch, suddenly seemed less suffocating than he previously felt.

Jump to Chapter 13: For the team