Last Thursday while playing basketball, my IM career – and walking normally for a while – came to an abrupt halt. As I attempted to make a jump-stop on a fastbreak, instead of bending the right way, my knee decided to shake things up a bit and bend inwards for a change. The result left me writhing in pain in the fetal position on the floor.

Paul Wong
Jeff Phillips

After the game, I went to the ER, in the hopes of getting some kind of confirmation on what happened. Instead, what I got was an exercise in buffoonery. I understand that emergency rooms are understaffed and overcrowded, but when I actually get a diagnosis, I would like it to be a good one.

That said, I was greeted quickly and had several x-rays taken of my knee. Of course, being a knee injury and all, x-rays are almost always useless; you need an MRI. After that, I was sent to a waiting room, where a doctor saw me after about an hour.

He asks how I am feeling, and then performs a series of movements on my knee to which I responded, “Yes, that hurts,” approximately 15 times. He then tells me that my knee “looks stable” and gives me crutches, a brace and some Vicadin. At worst he says, it is a slight MCL tear, but if it still hurts, go to University Health Services.

Since I don’t trust UHS to cure its way out of a wet paper bag, I went home, and had an MRI done, which confirmed that I had an MCL tear. But in addition, the MRI revealed I no longer have an ACL in my right knee. Yep, seems stable without that pesky ACL getting in the way!

Now I’m consumed by only having one good knee. I’m supposed to come up with an idea for a screenplay for class, but every storyline that I think of involved a boy that is happily living his life, then he suffers a severe knee injury and can’t come up with an original idea for a screenplay.

Ahem. So to make the most of the situation, I came up with the best things to do in Ann Arbor with only one good leg. Some are fun. Some are vindictive. All should put me (or whoever else is in a similar predicament) in a better mood afterwards.

1. Trip somebody.

Naturally, you aren’t feeling too good after losing your ACL. What better than to wallow in the embarrassment of somebody else? Do you know what Schadenfreude is? With a nice, big brace on, the maneuver is easy: Simply sit as you would normally, then when somebody walks by lean forward with your injured leg. You can even sell it by clutching your knee and giving a painful outburst. It is good for a laugh or two, especially if the person you trip apologizes for it.

2. Kick back and relax.

Part of having an injury to your leg is that you have to keep it elevated. To make the most of this, plop your boot on your hated roommate’s new JBL speakers or plasma TV. Having a bum leg also gives you first dibs on the best seat in the house (the one with the accompanying ottoman), shotgun and any other leg-related amenities.

For class, you can sit in the professor’s seat and rest your leg on his desk. When he asks what the hell you are doing just say, “Sorry, doctor’s orders.” He’ll understand.

3. Play footsie.

When you finally get enough courage to go out into society again with a brace, ask that cute girl or guy in your class to coffee/dinner/movie. Then when you sit down, playfully rub your busted leg against her/him. If she/he likes it, continue. If not, say, “Sorry, doctor’s orders” and try again later.

4. Have your friends buy you 20 new DVDs.

You would be surprised what a little ranting and raving about how your professional basketball career is over will do.

As you will soon learn, and as organized religion already has, guilt is a powerful tool. Thanks guys!

5. Take two Vicadin.

You probably won’t feel like going to the bar anytime soon, so instead of sending yourself into a deeper depression spiral by drinking alone, try taking two Vicadin. Take two at 1:50 and by 2:10 you will feel like one of the gang when they get home from the bar.

I’m still an amateur at the whole gimp thing, but I’m learning. Should your body attempt a coup at your knee’s expense, just follow my guidance.

– Jeff Phillips can be reached at jpphilli@umich.edu.

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