Oct 4, 2017
Back to Form

Following three season-ending knee surgeries in as many years, Memphis Grizzlies’ small forward Chandler Parsons is determined to come back this season healthier than ever. As part of the process, Parsons spent the entire offseason working to build a better body.

“You get paid a certain salary, you’re judged, and you’re expected to perform at the highest level when you’re getting paid at the highest level,” Parsons told ESPN. “To put it simply, I didn’t last year. I truly believe it was 95 percent injury. I don’t think I’ve lost my game or lost a step. Just physically, I wasn’t there last year. I was a step slow, I wasn’t athletic, I wasn’t fast. I wasn’t myself.”

Parsons has been working with John Meyer, PT, DPT, OCS, FAFS, President and CEO of ISportsPT in Los Angeles and Senior Physical Therapist for the Department of Athletic Medicine at the University of Southern California, four or five times per week since March. Initially, Parsons focused on rehabbing after his knee surgery before moving on to the mechanics of movement.

“We had to give him a foundation of strength first, which is what we did, and then we moved to movement re-education and movement retraining,” said Meyer. “We still had to give him a good foundation of strength and get his explosiveness back because he just wasn’t explosive and confident jumping and landing. We spent a lot of time on landing mechanics and just controlling his trunk, hips, knees, and ankles when he lands.”

Parsons has also worked on building core strength. One low-impact method of doing this has been Pilates.

“It’s a great alternative workout to make yourself feel uncomfortable,” Parsons said. “You go outside the box and bubble to work out muscles that you never think about during the season.”

On the court, Parsons’ lower-body mechanics that are needed to perform sport-specific skills have been under scrutiny this offseason, as well. He has been working diligently with NBA skills trainer Rob McClanaghan. The workouts differ based on the day, but conditioning is as much a focus as developing skills. One thing has remained consistent, though — the workouts’ intensity has increased over the summer.

“He’s come a long way since May,” said McClanaghan. “He’s probably 75 percent right now. He can get to 100. Explosive, he’s getting there. His balance is getting there. His conditioning early in the summer hurt his balance and hurt his jump shot, but that’s increased so greatly. Everything’s improved as we’ve gone on. I’ve tried to do my best so that when he gets to training camp, he’s in really good shape. I don’t want to push it too early, obviously coming off surgery and things like that. So I’ve tapered it up to a point where hopefully by the time he gets to camp he’s 90 percent, and by week one he’s 100 percent.”

Parsons seconds McClanaghan’s positive assessment of his progress.

“I dedicated my entire summer to my body,” he said. “I can’t even really compare it to last year because it’s night and day how my body feels, the kind of shape I’m in. I’m lean. I’m playing five-on-five, one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three. Working out five times a week. I’m doing stuff now that basically I couldn’t even do throughout the season last year. It’s completely different.”

Image by TonyTheTiger

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