PHOENIX — Following two disastrous knee injuries, it feels like Michael Redd hasn’t made a blip on the national radar since being a key contributor on the 2008 Redeem Team.
The former All-Star isn’t done yet.
The Phoenix Suns officially signed the veteran guard on Thursday and the pairing couldn’t be more perfect for either party.
“It’s a rebirth,” Redd said on Thursday. “It’s been a roller coaster three years. At one point you’re at the pinnacle of your career and then the next moment you’re at the bottom with the injuries.
“This is a new day, new age for me and I’m excited about it.”
And for a team that’s missing a go-to scorer, signing a 32-year-old who is coming off two serious ACL tears to his left knee isn’t as big of a risk as it may seem. With Redd signed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract, the Suns are hoping their training staff can bring the former All-Star back to his old self, though expectations haven’t been set that high just yet.
Head coach Alvin Gentry doesn’t have a timetable for Redd’s insertion into the lineup, and President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said Redd won’t travel with the team on this road trip. He’ll join the squad on Monday.
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound guard is still a couple of weeks away from getting into basketball shape, Babby added. In fact, the Suns’ workout of Redd on Tuesday was his first contact practice since April, when he was on the comeback with the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Because I was a free agent, I didn’t want to play 5-on-5 and have something happen,” Redd said of his summer. “Just individual workouts and trained all summer — not therapy but trained.”
So Redd is actually far removed from his injuries time-wise. His first setback came in January of 2009, and his second ACL tear occurred in January of 2010. This second time around, Redd isn’t pushing anything, and taking 14 months off before coming back toward the tail-end of last season was only helped by the prolonged summer break and lockout, he said.
The former 20-plus point scorer played 10 games with the Bucks at the end of last season and averaged 4.4 points in 13.4 minutes played, giving more evidence that he’s healed.
“I took off 14 months between the surgery in (2010) to this year,” Redd said. “Came back in April and played, and by the time my legs started getting back into it, the season was over.”
As for Tuesday’s workout, Babby said Redd looked fine as far as mobility was concerned.
Redd added that his first contact practice since the end of last season went well, especially from a mental standpoint.
“I didn’t even think about my knees,” he said of Tuesday’s workout. “It wasn’t even a thought, which was good for me, not to be in that mindset about this move or the next move.”
Redd on if he thinks he can get back to his old self:
“I want to play at that elite level I’m accustomed to playing at. I asked all the doctors, this last surgery, ‘Can I play at the level I’m accustomed to playing at?’ They said, ‘Yeah.’”
Redd on how, like Grant Hill, he doesn’t have the mileage his age suggests:
“I haven’t played the last couple of years. Grant was huge last year; we were at Milwaukee, and he came up to me and said, ‘You’ll get those years back, you know, if you do it properly and you do it right.’ That was big of him to come and encourage me like that.”
Babby on the signing in general:
“This is not any way, shape or form a reaction to the first couple of games. We’ve been talking to him a long time.”
“If we can get him completely right and back to himself, he’ll be a great asset to us.”
“As Cotton Fitzsimmons said, you can never have too many shooters.”
Babby on the Suns’ medical staff:
“Our guys are the best at putting a guy back in a position to where he can play. I’ve been through that personally through Grant (Hill), and I suspect that this is the next chapter in the history that goes back to Antonio McDyess and Grant. If anybody can do it, our guys can do it if he’s ready to put in the work. I have absolutely no doubt he’s willing to put in the work.”
Tags: Michael Redd