View Full Version : TJ Ford's Spine

06-26-2008, 01:22 AM
I was against this deal, mostly for financial reasons. But the injury thing is also a major issue.

Honestly, I like the kid a lot (just not our front office fiscal policy) and I'm not trying to discredit TJ's ability or warrior mentality, but I think it's important that we realize his real injury history.

A lot of people are saying "Well aside from the Horford thing, he played 70+ games the previous two seasons."

And that's true.

But he also missed the entire season before that due to neck surgery that fused two vertabrae and made him sit out 20 straight months.

So I posted this in the big thread, but figured it deserves it's own place.

Here's a chronological look:

High school


The summer before Ford was to enter the University of Texas he had another scary moment when he hit the floor and didn't get up. He was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which, put simply, is abnormal narrowing of the openings of the vertebra through which the spinal cord runs.

Surgery was considered and but eventually ruled out and Ford enjoyed two stellar seasons at the University of Texas without incident.



Before the Bucks took Ford with the No. 8 pick in 2003, according to general manager Larry Harris, the team was aware of three episodes in which Ford had suffered a loss of feeling in his extremities. The third of these incidents took place in April 2003, after Ford had led Texas to the Final Four. He was driving to the basket during a pickup game at the campus rec center when he tripped headfirst into the thigh of teammate Royal Ivey and fell to the ground. "I can't move!" Ford cried, lying flat on his back.

"He kept saying he couldn't feel his legs, his fingers, anything,'' said Ivey, now a backup guard with the Bucks. "He was paranoid and scared, and I was telling him to calm down, it was going to be all right.''

At that time, Ford was more worried about his career than his health. "I had just signed with my agent, so no way I can go back to school,'' Ford said. "I thought, 'Now my dream is over. No one is going to draft me.' ''

Ford regained feeling within 20 minutes and made a complete recovery within a month.

Second Year NBA

This was his first major NBA spine injury that caused him to sit out an entire season and a half. Yes, 20 months...or 96 straight games. Check his blank 2004-2005 stats.


Questions of safety and health hover in the rafters wherever Ford plays these days. Tuesday he will walk onto an NBA court for his first real game since Feb. 24, 2004. That night, 20 months ago, the Bucks' high-flying point guard collided with the Minnesota Timberwolves' Mark Madsen on a drive to the basket and landed hard on his tailbone.

Ford did not get up. He felt numb all over. He was taken from the court on a stretcher. He could walk in the months before surgery, but some numbness persisted. In May, Robert G. Watkins of the Los Angeles Spine Surgery Institute fused two vertebrae in Ford's neck. More than a year after that, last June, Watkins cleared Ford to play again.

Ford trained intensively for four months in his hometown of Houston under the tutelage of former NBA point guard John Lucas. They worked on Ford's jumper. They worked on his strength and stamina. And they worked on his fear.

Last Season NBA

And then there was this year's Horford hit, which saw him carried off on a stretcher, spend a night in the hospital and miss 26 games.

Google it and there are dozens of stories/video.

Potential Long-term Effects of Congenital Spinal Stenosis


Degenerative disc disease (wearing down of shock-absorbing structures between vertebrae), bone spurs (overgrowth of bone), or vertebral subluxation (one vertebral body slipping forward onto the next) further narrows the spinal canal as the person with cervical spinal stenosis ages. These changes can lead to long-term spinal cord compression, resulting in loss of nerve function such as numbness, weakness, and loss of fine motor control in the arms and hands and difficulty with walking. Sometimes, symptoms are so severe that you need surgery to relieve them.

duke dynamite
06-26-2008, 01:30 AM
But he is still healthier than Tinsley...

Infinite MAN_force
06-26-2008, 01:51 AM
There is certainly a risk involved.

Of course, with his talent level, there is no way that trade went down unless there was an injury risk. We swapped risks with Toronto.

I would be much more hesitant if not for the insurance. If the big one ever happened, the rest of his contract is 80% paid and he becomes an expiring contract as far as the cap is concerned.

If JO's knees give out Toronto gave up a lot of assets for nothing, and they pay a lot of money for it.

It really hits me as a fair trade. With big potential benefits for both sides, and some big risks.

The prospect of a healthy Ford finally playing starter minutes has me excited, I must admit.

06-26-2008, 04:24 AM
I would be much more hesitant if not for the insurance. If the big one ever happened, the rest of his contract is 80% paid and he becomes an expiring contract as far as the cap is concerned.

My concern is not so much for "the Big one", but instead for the next time he misses 20 months, where his insurance will not help at all.

06-26-2008, 06:25 AM
I agree his injury situation is a concern but IMO there's a much greater chance of him playing 60 games next season than there is for JO - and you're paying him a heckuva lot less.

06-26-2008, 06:35 AM
Not to mention that, assuming we can't trade Tinsley, between the two of them they should be able to give us a legit starter for 82 games per season.

In all seriousness, he's an injury risk, but not any moreso than Jermaine, and at least with T.J., he won't be in and out of the lineup, not practicing. He'll either be in, or he'll be out.