Broken bones fail to shatter Ipswich captain
IT wasn't until Ipswich captain James Legan was in his hospital bed uncertain about his playing future that he realised how much support he had.
He'd just broken the tibia and fibula bones in his right leg leading his beloved Force team in the Queensland Basketball League match against South West Metro.
The nasty setback left a lasting impact.
"I went up for a lay up and I came down and I heard a loud pop,'' Legan said.
"They said they could hear it on the video . . . I haven't watched the video yet nor do I want to.''
Legan, 30, said it wasn't excruciating pain at the time.
"I could not feel it at all,'' he said. "I sat up and I looked at my leg and it was just hanging.''
The positive for the American basketball fanatic is that it was a clean break.
During a week in hospital, he discovered the benefits of what he called "modern technology''.
Legan had his kneecap dislocated and a titanium rod was inserted down his leg to his ankle. "So I've got a screw through my knee and I got two screws through my ankle,'' he said.
Out of hospital and hobbling around on crutches, Legan is planning his lengthy rehabilitation, starting in Ipswich before he returns home to the US in October.
"I'm walking now so it's amazing,'' he said.
He said medical reports were so far pointing to everything being on track.
"I've got another three weeks and the bone should be moulded,'' he said. "And after that, probably another two weeks and I can start back working out and stuff like that.''
The broken leg was the only serious injury he'd suffered in many years of playing his favourite sport.
And don't mention retirement.
"The plan is to be back next year,'' he said.
"This is my life. This is all I know.
"I know it's a broken bone but to come back from that is mind over matter.
"I've got some of the best trainers in the world back at home.''
His passion and support for Ipswich basketball is why Legan was a popular figure at Saturday night's latest QBL clash, the final game for the Ipswich men this season.
It was ironically against the team where he broke his bones on July 15.
However, the guard cheered his Ipswich teammates before congratulating South West Metro on their latest victory at Booval.
"I'd give anything to be out there,'' Legan said.
"You want to be there and support the guys and give them words of encouragement.''
Legan even auctioned off his playing strip, fetching $450 to go towards his medical expenses as he prepares to head home to Houston.
He appreciated Archie Mazai, from Just Gym at Redbank, making a valuable contribution.
But as Legan reflects on his setback, he'll carry a positive approach forward.
Having done some great work on Ipswich Basketball's development, promotions and sponsorship at the start of this season, Legan has plenty of motivation.
He hopes to spend his 31st birthday back at Ipswich stadium with some unfinished business.
"I've got to be back. People want to see me back,'' the popular American said.
"I'm staying positive about everything.''