Briann January: Traveling Helps Keep Her Rehab Fresh!
A graduate of Arizona State University and a native of Spokane, Wash.,Briann January was the Indiana Fever’s first-round draft pick in 2009 and last season was given the keys to the starting point guard position before she tragically tore her anterior cruciate ligament in a June 28 game against Phoenix. She was a key component in the Fever’s drive to the WNBA Finals in her rookie campaign and had shown flashes of becoming perhaps the most athletic point guard in Fever history.
After averaging 8.6 points and 5.0 assists per game to start the 2011 season, January sustained a serious injury for the first time in her life. Dealing with the blow was also a life-changing experience, but she has dealt with her circumstance with remarkable healing power and a positive attitude which has her eager to look forward to the 2012 season.
On the phone from New York City – one of many travel stops she has made this offseason – she conducted the following interview with FeverBasketball.com. Asked what took her to NYC, she quipped, “I had to keep things fresh with my rehab!” Indeed, she has continued her rehabilitation between stops in Indy, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and even Columbus, Ohio, to visit with teammate Jessica Davenport.
FeverBasketball.com: So you have been on the road the past few months. Where did you spend your holidays?
Brian January: “I spent them at home with family, finally! Being overseas and in college for so long, it was nice to spend the holidays with the fam – both Thanksgiving and Christmas – and take part in the celebrations and festivities of the season. It was great!”
FB: Get anything good for Christmas?
BJ: “I got a new iPod and some lifting gloves! My mom said my hands were getting too rough from lifting, so she gave me some weight lifting gloves. I got some clothes and a puzzle I really like. All good stuff.”
FB: Talk about your rehab – at what stage are you right now?
BJ: “This is the beginning of my sixth month. Right now I’m pretty much past all the rehab and getting into the strengthening part. I’m getting onto the court and getting back into some conditioning and basketball work which is exciting.”
FB: When do you think you might start playing any live ball? Any chance of overseas action?
BJ: “We’re trying to take it month-by-month. I talk all the time with the trainers and doctor and I’m having monthly checkups. I’ll be back in Indiana at the end of this month. My agent has let me know there are overseas teams making offers. They say they are willing to work with me and let me work my way back into it, but we’re thinking long term and it might not be worth it to go overseas too quickly.”
FB: I know you’ve traveled a bit over the past few months. How was your trip to Columbus to see JDav?
BJ: “Wow, I’ve been all over. I’m in NY right now. I’ve kind of been going East Coast to West Coast. I’ve spent some time with a friend of mine and working out while I’ve been here. I spent some time in the WNBA offices and did a little shopping while soaking up the Christmas atmosphere in NYC. I caught a show while I was her, too.
“I spent some time with family in Indy in December, and had a checkup with the doctor.
I spent some time in Oregon with my sister and I’ve spent time with friends in Washington that I haven’t been able to see in recent years. I’m excited to be going back to Arizona again this weekend for our Alumni Weekend when ASU plays against UCLA!
“As for visiting Columbus, well, you know Dav and I … we’re simple-living people. We chilled a lot. She took me to campus and took me to a game. OSU is looking really good and I like their little point guard [Samantha Prahalis], she’s running the show. Jess is looking really good and working hard on her body, too. We cooked a little bit while we were together. It was good to spend some time, I miss her.”
FB: You have had some time to reflect … do you remember your first thoughts when you got hurt against Phoenix last summer?
BJ: “Oh man, do I. It’s still very fresh in my mind. It’s still been a little bit of a process with me kind of accepting what happened and moving on. Something like that was very upsetting. But the process has really allowed me to grow. I’ve grown in many different areas on and off the court. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, when you look at the big picture.”
FB: When did you start to realize that you could come back from the injury?
BJ: “The great thing about the people I’ve had around me – [Tamika] Catchings, Erin [Phillips] and some teammates in college who have had this surgery – they have gotten better afterward and have been able to talk to me about it. It has been in my mind for a long time that ‘this wasn’t the end.’ Those people helped to keep me positive. Every goal along the way, I have been able to reach, and I have no doubt I’ll be back.”
FB: What would you tell somebody else who gets hurt for the first time like you did?
BJ: “I would tell them to really keep the big picture in mind. Take it day by day. Do everything you need to do to focus on your rehab. If you take care of your rehab early on, and listen to the docs and therapists, your rehab will fly by. If you do everything you can within your limits, you will get there, and you’ll be surprise how fast it goes.”
FB: Let’s change gears and talk a little Bri-TV. It was a fun segment last year. And the fans liked it, too. Looking back, did you enjoy doing it?
BJ: “I loved doing ri-TV! I was actually thinking about that the other day! It was something I really enjoyed. I got some great feedback. People enjoyed getting to see my teammates and some of the things we do behind the scenes.”
FB: Any thoughts about new segments for 2012?
BJ: “Oh geez! Well, I didn’t get to talk with a lot of different players last year because we started it so late, and then I got hurt. I’d like to introduce our fans to some of our other players and get to know them a little. Perhaps show them some of our pregame routines. I’ll think about some things and give you a few surprises when we start the new season!”