Suns’ Shamet thankful to feel OK after concussion, hopes to play Saturday

Nov 25, 2022, 5:50 PM
Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns talks with Landry Shamet #14 on the bench during the first ha...
Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns talks with Landry Shamet #14 on the bench during the first half of the preseason NBA game at Footprint Center on October 12, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Landry Shamet had a concussion in college but his experience with the one he suffered this month for the Phoenix Suns was vastly different.

Shamet, who will miss his seventh straight game on Friday while in concussion protocols, couldn’t say with certainty after shootaround when he sustained the injury. He thinks it was on Nov. 4 against the Portland Trail Blazers.

There was no obvious moment when it occurred, because the only symptom Shamet had afterward was a tight neck. He went through all of the tests and checklists Suns trainers should be putting him through in that situation, ones he passed.

“You can’t just do a test and say, ‘Oh, you have a concussion,'” he said Friday.

Shamet felt fine outside of that, but three games later in Minnesota, that’s when he started to have the symptoms “creep in” a bit. This was nothing like his concussion at Wichita State, when the disoriented feelings and such kicked in right away.

A day later after a flight to Orlando while having dinner with his family in the area, Shamet couldn’t focus while lights and sounds were starting to bother him.

“As symptoms came up, it was over time,” Shamet said. “It was really, really strange. I’ve never experienced anything like that. A lot of it was, ‘(It was) a couple days ago. Why am I feeling it now?'”

He couldn’t stand up without failing to lose his balance like, as he described himself, Bambi. He’s not one to throw up but got very nauseous. All that at dinner is when it really kicked in where he was at.

“It got my attention, definitely got my respect,” he said of the concussion. “One of the days it was like, ‘Whoa, this is real.'”

From there, Shamet has had daily check-ins and such with the Suns medical staff. He spent a week hardly looking at screens, unable to even go to the arena to watch. Shamet attempted to keep his headspace as clear as possible, so he didn’t tune in for games to keep his brain away from thinking about that coverage here and that rotation there.

That kills such a hard worker like Shamet, to see something like a new wrinkle in the system on film recently that he’s not familiar with, but he took the instructions seriously.

“You can get a lot of surgeries after you’re done playing on your knees, ankles, joints, bones, whatever — but you got one brain and one heart,” he said.

The mentality change was something Shamet did his best to wrap his head around. When it’s a physical injury, there is, well, physical rehab work to get back. I’m sure there are times in his career he’s felt much worse physically and still played, so why couldn’t he now?

“You need to just like hit the brakes,” he said of sitting out.

Shamet was back out getting his normal post-shootaround work in on Tuesday. He’s in the last step of his road back right now, just getting back into game shape, and he hopes to play on Saturday in Phoenix versus the Utah Jazz.

“I’m lucky to feel good and excited to get back rolling,” he said.

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