En­nis hopes to build bet­ter ver­sion of him­self

Cana­dian bas­ket­ball star re­cov­er­ing at home af­ter suf­fer­ing grue­some in­jury

StarMetro Halifax - - SPORTS - Lori Ewing

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.

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