February 10, 2009

Ahead of Curve, Grant Targets July Return

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Just a month removed from his second major reconstructive knee surgery in five years, John Grant Jr. said Tuesday that he could return in time for the 2009 Major League Lacrosse season – whether he’s in Rochester or Toronto.

Reacting to Tuesday’s report in the Globe and Mail that the MLL and a Toronto investment group are finalizing details on an ownership agreement that would make the league’s reigning champion its first Canadian franchise, Grant speculated it would be bittersweet.

“I moved to Rochester. We won the championship with Rochester,” the Rattlers forward said. “I think it would be devastating for the fans of Rochester, but if the MLL can’t make it work here, then the next logical choice would be to move the team closer to where the players play.”

Grant, who also plays for the National Lacrosse League’s Rochester Knighthawks, is currently sidelined for the 2009 NLL season while recovering from knee surgery. Although initial reports were that he would also miss the ensuing MLL campaign, Grant, pleased so far with his rehabilitation, said he has targeted a July return.

“The Knighthawks staff isn’t too fired up about my goal to come back in July,” Grant said. “But that’s what I’m trying to do right now. If it happens to be somewhere other than Rochester, that’s alright for me.”

Grant, 33, entered Peterborough Hospital on Sept. 2 after complaining of pain in his back, elbow and knee. Doctors performed two surgeries to remove an infection in his elbow and knee. Three days later, they discovered that the infection had worsened and was attacking his left anterior cruciate ligament – the one he had replaced in 2004.

Grant underwent emergency surgery to remove the ligament and several screws from the previous surgery and would spend four months in a knee brace as the infection cleared.

Doctors deemed Grant’s knee fit to operate again in January. He said he was walking within days, shed his immobilizing brace after a week and has strengthened the knee using an elliptical trainer.

“There’s protocol. You can’t just jump on a squat rack. You’ve got to build your quads, hamstrings, all the muscles around your knee,” Grant said. “It’s not like I’m going to get any slower. I’m already slow as molasses…Last time I came back a better all-around player and better team player. Hopefully this time I’ll come back stronger than I was before.”

And in perfect time for the MLL’s first Canadian franchise to build a brand around one of its own.

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