Ennis hopes to build better version of himself
Canadian basketball star recovering at home after suffering gruesome injury
Brittany was the first member of Canadian basketball’s big Ennis family to hear the news. “Hey, prayers for your brother,” someone texted the 19year-old.
Why prayers? she worried. Then someone sent her the video link.
Tyler Ennis was just three regular-season games into his Euroleague career with storied Turkish club Fenerbahce in October when he suffered a gruesome broken leg. The play seemed innocuous enough. The look on opponent Malcolm Armstead’s face said the injury was anything but.
The 24-year-old from Brampton, Ont., was driving to the hoop when he collided with Buyukcekmece’s Armstead, and their legs seemed to become entangled. Ennis falls, and when he lifts his left leg, from the middle his shin down it hangs limply like an empty sock. Armstead looks away in horror. The video is not for the squeamish. It comes with a “graphic” warning. Ennis still hasn’t watched it. He says he might never.
He called and talked to his panicked sister right after the injury.
“Brittany was crying, she said ‘Your leg!’ (and) I’m like ‘I’m fine now,’ ” Ennis said. Tyler Ennis had played for four teams in the NBA over four seasons after being drafted 18th overall by the Phoenix Suns in 2014.
Ten weeks after the injury, the six-foot-three guard is back home rehabilitating with Canada Basketball’s staff.
Ennis walks into The Movement Lab in Mississauga for treatment and a workout with a slight limp. He has a knobbly scar below his knee a couple inches wide where
surgeons in Istanbul inserted a rod down the length of his tibia from knee to ankle.
He scrolls through his phone to the Xray image of his industrial-strength leg. There are five screws for reinforcement that will eventually be removed.
“I’ve been walking for awhile, I still have a little limp Tyler Ennis works out during a recovery session for his broken tibia at the Movement Lab in Mississauga, Ont.
… but by the time I leave him I’ll be a lot better,” he said, with a nod toward Canada Basketball athletic therapist Krisjon Vargas, who kneads the muscles around Ennis’s break for the better part of an hour.
Ennis played four seasons in the NBA, for Phoenix, Milwaukee, Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers since he was drafted 18th overall by the Suns out of Syracuse University in 2014. He saw Fenerbahce as a fresh start.
There’s no timetable for his return to Fenerbahce,
which leads the Turkish league at 15-1. The injury, Ennis said, initially felt like he’d been kicked in the leg.
Ennis called his dad Tony Mcintyre after the injury. His dad, alerted by Brittany, was already at an airport gate waiting to board an overseas flight when Tyler called. When he woke from surgery, Mcintyre — director of basketball operations for the Athlete Institute academy in Orangeville, Ont., — was beside his bed.