Trevor Booker is in Dallas rehabilitating a bruised right quadriceps that forced to him to leave his Israeli team, Bnei HaSharon. Booker isn’t sure when he’ll be able to return, so while he is anxious for the NBA lockout to end, he also understands that he might not be ready for training camp with the Wizards if a new agreement is reached soon.
“I kind of selfishly don’t want it to end yet, because of my leg,” Booker said in a recent telephone interview. “At the same time, I’m ready to get back to D.C. and get back to work.”
Booker was the first Wizard to seek employment abroad after the lockout began, signing in Israel with an NBA out in August. He arrived in September but only practiced with his team for a month before getting injured during a scrimmage when an opponent’s knee collided with Booker’s right thigh. Booker still played on the injury for a week until the pain became unbearable.
“One day my leg locked up real tight on me and I couldn’t bend it,” Booker said. “I’ve been rehabbing ever since. I tried to rehab over there and I was getting frustrated and I felt like it wasn’t working, so I came back over here to see what they could do. The doctor didn’t give me a timetable. It’s a difficult injury, but at the same time, it’s not serious.”
Bnei HaSharon replaced Booker with Sacramento Kings forward J.J. Hickson, but Hickson was sent back after one game, reportedly for being late to a couple of practices. Booker is still under contract with Bnei HaSharon and plans to return if he heals and the NBA labor situation remains unresolved.
“I’m still available. If my leg gets right before the lockout, I’m going back over there,” he said. “I was there for a month, but it was a great experience. I got to see what life is like over there, what it’s like playing basketball overseas. I really enjoyed my experience.”
Booker never played in a regular season game for Bnei HaSharon and was only able to participate in three scrimmages. But he had a great time in the city of Herzliya, in central Israel. “They called it the Miami of the Middle East,” he said. “The weather was great. I was right on the beach. The team was the best part about it. Everybody was just so close, even the management was close to the players. I loved everything about.”
Booker has been working out with trainer Tim Martin, strengthening his leg and putting up shots. A fan of the Dallas Cowboys, Booker is hoping to attend a game while in the town.
But for now, he’ll serve as coach for Wizards free agent forward Josh Howard’s celebrity charity game at the Cobb Athletic Complex at Fair Park on Saturday in Dallas. Booker will coach a team that features Wizards teammates Andray Blatche, Nick Young and Hamady Ndiaye, LaMarcus Aldridge, Corey Brewer, Damion James, Isaiah Thomas, Jarrett Jack, Jason Maxiell and Damien Wilkins.
Howard’s team will be coached by Jason Terry and include John Wall, former Wizard Quinton Ross, Reggie Evans, Marquis Daniels, DeSagana Diop, Anthony Randolph, Damon Jones and Jeremy Evans. The game will be streamed on TheBasketballChannel.net for $1.99.
“I’ll show off my coaching skills,” Booker said. “I’m still working on my game plan right now.”
He is also keeping tabs on the lockout, with a 5 p.m. deadline looming for players to accept the league’s latest proposal. The players’ union has already announced that it planned to reject the deal and wanted to negotiate some more with the owners.
“I know we took a stand. I’m glad that we took a stand,” Booker said. “Hopefully, we can get something soon.”