Toronto Raptors centre Khem Birch discusses what happened to his knee, the setbacks he experienced and how good the Raptors can be when they’re fully healthy.
KHEM BIRCH: Oh, I would say you can't control something. Only you can control what you can control. So that's out of my control right now. I'm just focused on getting healthy.
Oh, yeah, I'm not a 100% yet. But I just feel like this is the type of injury-- you just got-- that's what you got to deal with. You got to learn how to play with the aches and bruises of it. So that's how-- I just had two practices. And I was just like, you got to get used to it.
- How frustrating has this process been for you? Because this hasn't been the type of injury that-- you have it. There's a period you heal. You're fine. You're back. It's sort of been lingering and going up and down over the last few months. What's that been like to navigate?
KHEM BIRCH: I mean, like you said, it's very frustrating, you know? At first, I thought I was 25 again, coming back after a week, you know? But you know, the reality hit. I'm getting older, and you just got to take it slowly, and that's what I did this time. So I think-- from the circumstance, I think this is what I have to deal with. And you know, obviously it's frustrating. But like I said, I just got to deal with it.
- Have you had thoughts of surgery?
KHEM BIRCH: Oh, no, no, no. I don't think it's that serious. It's not really a ligament issue. It's just a bone bruise, so, like I said, I just got to [INAUDIBLE] it.
- I was going to ask-- how it was explained to you? Is the bone bruise causing the swelling? You came back for a couple of games and then realized that it was--
KHEM BIRCH: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, like I said, you know, I came back too early the first time, like a week. And then after I knew my diagnosis, that's when I realized I should take my time and-- I just to get back as healthy as I can to play. So--
- Yeah, so is it a combination-- when you say, it's not-- it doesn't swell up? Do you still feel it? How are you not 100%? Like, what's bothering you?
KHEM BIRCH: It's a bruise, you know? Like I said, like there's no ligaments that are bothered or anything. It's just, like, the outside of my knee, you know? You just feel, like, the pain of it. So I don't think there's anything you can do about that except for, obviously, rest. But like there's no, really, timetable, so I just got to learn how to play through it.
- Do you expect to play tomorrow?
KHEM BIRCH: I'm not sure. Ironically, I'm probably going to play the game after that, maybe. But I doubt I'll play tomorrow.
- Whether it's tomorrow or next week or whenever it is that you and OG and Precious are able to get out there-- I mean, this is a team that hasn't had the full roster in any game this season. How much are you looking forward to, not only being out there as a full unit, but even just the curiosity of seeing what you guys are capable of together?
KHEM BIRCH: I'm very excited. And especially, like you said earlier, just the circumstance around the league. You know, I think we could take advantage of that if we're all healthy, and I'm very curious to see what we can do because I think we have a lot of potential.
- And in the games where you've been out, what have you seen of this team that you like and where you think you can help [INAUDIBLE]?
KHEM BIRCH: I see you know we have a lot of young guys, a lot of underrated guys like Yuta and Justin. Obviously, Chris is great. Chris always fills in, does his job. So those guys have been really well-- done well since I've been out. And I give a lot of credit to the young guys on our team. The, next man up, mentality-- they got that.
- When you said, ironically, you might return [INAUDIBLE] still [INAUDIBLE]?
KHEM BIRCH: No, not really. I have no grudges against them. You know, without them, I wouldn't be in the NBA, so I don't have nothing against them-- organizations. Yeah.
- Great, thanks very much, Khem.
KHEM BIRCH: Thank you.