Title: Inside Dewan Hernandez’s recovery from ‘one of the worst sprains ever’
Date: March 28, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Dewan Hernandez’s long recovery from an awful ankle sprain.
In low-cut sneakers and pants cropped above the ankle, Dewan Hernandez is more appropriately dressed for his hometown of Miami than the snowy Denver evening the Toronto Raptors are about to embark out into. He has not let months of traveling with the team while injured derail his fashion sense or his demeanour. Teammates are quick to refer to him as “Hollywood,” both a statement on his off-court personality and a nod to the city atop North Beach that Hernandez calls home.
The outfit belies more than just the University of Miami energy that drips off of Hernandez. It also reveals his right ankle is still a little swollen. To say this is unexpected, here on March 1, wouldn’t be entirely fair. To say it’s a frustrating disappointment would be an overwhelming understatement, were Hernandez not doing his best to make the most of what’s effectively become a redshirt rookie season.
For a moment in December, it looked like Hernandez’s season was heading down a dramatically different path. On December 18, Raptors 905 were flying from Canton, Ohio to Las Vegas that night in preparation for The G League Showcase, which the team felt might be a statement event for Hernandez. Despite losing his junior season at Miami, the Raptors were intrigued enough to use the No. 59 pick on him and he’d flashed glimmers of why at Summer League. Things hadn’t gone quite as well early in the season, though, as he struggled in his first few G League games and had his progress paused by a sprained thumb. Now, the 905 believed, Hernandez was beginning to put the pieces — timing, finishing, the nuances of a pro-style defence — into place. The Showcase would be a high-leverage opportunity to effectively transition from the pro calibration portion of his season to NBA preparation.