Candice Wiggins Discusses Recovery and Offseason Plans

Candice Wiggins remains on the recovery track after rupturing her Achilles' tendon on June 22 against the Liberty
Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images

The Minnesota Lynx's Candice Wiggins suffered a season-ending Achilles' tendon injury back on June 22 against the New York Liberty. Although it brought her basketball season to an end, the injury and lengthy rehab has given the second-year guard out of Stanford a chance to hit the books and assume the role of a student once again. Candice recently chatted with to discuss school, rehab and the potential timeline of her return to the court. First off, how are you feeling?

Candice Wiggins: I feel good. I guess it makes people probably think its weird for me to say that its probably the best Ive ever felt in my life. (laughs) I love basketball. It is my life, but its not who I am. Im kind of realizing that Im also pretty awesome outside of a basketball court too. So are you started to think of a lot of things away from the court then?

CW: Its not that I am thinking, its kind of like I have to. I cant think about basketball because Im not playing basketball. I will be playing basketball in, still quite a long time, so I had to sort of think about what other things in my life make me happy. It turns out that theres so much. And also I think that attributes to the fact that Im finishing school at Stanford right now, so Im on campus as a student and not as an athlete for the first time ever in my life Im just a student. So that itself is an experience I think of, that most athletes who played in college never really had. What kind of classes are you taking?

CW: My major is Comm, but Im actually not taking any Comm classes because it was all other classes that I had to take. So Im actually taking an engineering class, a really advanced engineering class  its really ridiculously difficult but Im still taking it because I have to. Im taking a public speaking class, an American Studies class on the 1960s, a sociology class and research methods. So Im taking a lot of different classes and theyre all very difficult, but theyre fun because I have time to invest in them. I did take a lot of Comm classes. The Communications classes at Stanford are excellent and were just very fortunate because were right next to all of the emerging technologies like Google and Facebook, Twitter  everything is in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. Apple. So its pretty awesome also to be a Comm. major in this time and age when everything is kind of moving toward the Internet. So its a computer and I kind of feel like Im a specialist in it because I went to school from 2004 to 2008, so I have a lot of information about virtual communities and virtual technologies. When I first started school Facebook was limited. It was limited to like Stanford students and Harvard students, so it was two schools and now the whole world is on Facebook. And Facebook kind of evolved in my career at Stanford too, being a Comm. major and being close to it. Well you definitely have time, because thats the one thing that an Achilles injury requires. With that said, hows the recovery coming along?

CW: Im actually walking now. I went for the first time yesterday on the Alter G, its a machine I think a lot of places have it now, it changes the gravity of it so I was at 60 percent impact [Tuesday] when I ran for the first time and my legs are crying today from it. It was just awesome to be able to use my legs again. I was in a cast for a month and I was in a boot for two months and then Ive been kind of walking ever since then and I got my legs back. The good thing about it is that my knees  Ive had a lot of knee problems throughout the years, nothing serious though  now my knees have been able to rest and thats actually more important than my Achilles is my knees getting the rest and not hitting them with any impact or anything like that. My body feels the best its ever felt, to be honest with you. I feel more explosive and Im just excited because its only going to get better with these months of rest. Lets go back to that night when you were injured. I was at the game and I remember seeing you go down. I spoke with coach Cheryl Reeve right after that and I also talked with Rebekkah [Brunson] and Seimone [Augustus] in the locker room and they all had these grim faces on.

CW: Yeah, it was like the grim reaper was there. [laughs] Can you describe the pain or the injury?

CW: No. Ive known people who have torn their Achilles before and it was always like, you dont know what that feels like until it happens to you. What happened to me, everyone says it felt being kicked, I felt for sure, for sure somebody kicked me in the back of the leg. And then when I turned around and see no one near me, my first immediate thought was, Oh, I just tore my Achilles tendon. That was your first thought?

CW: Absolutely. I felt like I got kicked. I knew it. I actually felt it. The thing is the pain isnt necessarily so much a pain thats like, Ow, my gosh Im in so much pain, as it is you just feel like you lost a limb or something. You feel like you (pause) tore your Achilles. (laughs) You just feel like a loss of power, a loss of strength, a loss of all kinds of stuff. Its crazy that you were able to pretty much self diagnose right there on the court.

CW: Yeah. And I was like, Oh I think I rupture my Achilles, its torn, and I think everyone was like, Shhhh, no you didnt. I knew it. I was actually having pains in my Achilles before so I kind of knew it was happening. Its more just tragic. I wrote a blog about it on Tumblr talking kind of about going down and comparing it to a Greek mythology, a mythological hero: Achilles. Now I can see why that is so powerful because your Achilles really is a big source of your power. So when it pops you just feel imbalanced. As we look ahead, is there a time frame for your return?

CW: Id love to just ignore the time frame. Its six to nine months is the gap they give you. Ive heard nine to 12 months, but it totally depends on the person and how they recover. But for me I really want to just take my time. Im not giving myself any time frame specifically, but six months is where I hope to be feeling good enough to do workouts or something like that. Im not going back overseas so I might as well utilize the time I have to really make sure that my body is in tip-top shape so Im like a machine when I come back to the WNBA in April. And from then on, from what Ive been told by doctors and people from a medical background, itd probably be smart for me to really think about the next moves I make in terms of playing overseas. You know, a lot of wear and tear on my body. Im a maniac when it comes to working, so I will work myself until my Achilles pops, until the wheels fall off. I just really have to manage that a little better.