Here's the transcript of a sit down I had with Martell Webster before the team left for the current Eastern Conference roadie. I was going to hold off posting it until Webster's return to the court, but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense now that I think about it. So here it is. Win one for the Webster!
It looks like you are close to getting back on the court. How has your rehab progressed?
Martell Webster: It’s going good. I get to do a little more every day today. Today I ran up and down with the team. I did just about everything that the rest of the team did. That felt great. I’ve got to go meet with the doctor again and see what he says. Hopefully he’ll clear me to start practicing, but I don’t want to rush it. If he says I need another week or so, then I’ll do whatever it takes. I just want to make sure when I come back that I don’t have to worry about possible risks or chance of having to go back in the boot. That’s the most important thing.
Do you feel anything in your foot now that you’re getting back on the court?
Martell Webster A little bit. It doesn’t hurt; it just feels weird. I’m trying to get my muscle memory back where it was. Being in a boot for four weeks then stepping out, things are a little wobbly and a little sensitive. I’m just trying to train my mind to know that my foot is OK.
This is the first significant injury you’ve had in your NBA career. Are you worried at all about coming back?
Martell Webster: No. It is what it is. These things happen everyday. Sometimes one of the most minor injuries you can get can do career-altering things.
I feel blessed to come as far as I have. Basketball doesn’t last forever. The stress fracture in my foot is just one of those things. Freak things happen. Right now I’m just doing everything I can to get back 100 percent. If this is my last day playing basketball, then I don’t regret anything. I had a great time. I’m just going to keep basically doing whatever I have to do to make it better. If things are great and I’m cleared to play, that’s a plus. If not, I’ve got to keep working until I’m able to get back out there on the court.
How do you keep yourself busy when the team is practicing or out on the road?
Martell Webster: There’s not much you can do to equal what you do on the court. You can do the pool. You can do the pool all you want, treadmill, bike, but endurance on the court is totally different from any other type of endurance. Coming back out here, going up and down a couple of times, I really felt it. I felt winded. Basically it’s about getting repetition, getting up here and doing some conditioning on the court is going to help me get back into game shape.
Before the injury, you came into training camp in the best shape of your life. Do you feel like you’re starting to get back into that kind of condition?
Martell Webster: Oh yeah. I feel great; my body feels great. It’s just that my wind is down a little bit, but it takes me no time to get that back up. That’s one of the perks of being young.
How do you see yourself fitting back into the lineup?
Martell Webster: The best way that fits! It’s not about starting. I can come off the bench, it doesn’t matter. Even if I don’t play for the first five games, that’s fine. I know that I’m going to work myself back into the rotation. I don’t know where, but I don’t mind coming off the bench or starting. It makes no difference to me. I just want to go out there. I’m eager to get back so I can contribute to the team.
What have you seen from the team while you’ve been out?
Martell Webster: The bench support is phenomenal. People have just accepted roles, which is the most important thing if you’re building a franchise that’s capable of winning a championship.
For instance, Joel just went back to coming off the bench against Sacramento and he had a phenomenal game. If you can have the mindset to know that you are on this team for a reason and that you can contribute in one way or another, then that’s biggest thing, especially if you’re trying to build a championship team. It’s a great feeling. That’s where I feel my place is so I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help this team win.
You seem convinced that this team has the potential to win a championship.
Martell Webster: Definitely we have that potential. We have the talent, not just in regards to the players, but also as a staff and an organization as a whole.
When some player get injured they withdrawal a bit from the team, but you’re on the bench for every home game and always at practice. Why?
Martell Webster: There’s no “I” in team. Just plain and simple. I know that’s just an old saying, but I always feel a part of this team. I love my teammates. The chemistry is incredible. We have a bond. Why would you want to be away from that? You want to be at ever game. Unfortunately I couldn’t go on the road trips because I was in the boot, but being here at home, sitting behind the bench at every game just makes me feel that much closer to getting back on the court. I love being there. It’s not a matter of needing to do it; I want to do it because I love being with this team.
Do you feel like you have a good balance right now between your personal and professional life?
Martell Webster: Yeah. When you think about it, kids commit more hours in school than we do to basketball all day. We come to practice for two hours and I get the rest of the day with my family. I feel blessed. We don’t deserve it, but I make sure that I play hard and I have no regrets. The most important thing is your family, but this is your job so you have to take care of this first. But two hours a day? Why would anyone complain about that?
A couple of weeks ago you were signed to contract extension. What does that say about the team’s commitment to you?
Martell Webster: It means that they want me here. They love what I’m doing here and I love what I’m doing here. I have a great time. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. I feel like this is the place for me. If I could retire here, that would be great. To know that they want me here for another four years is a blessing. I really appreciate Mr. Allen, Kevin Pritchard, the whole organization and this community for accepting me. I love every bit of it.