BIXBY — Even though he still wears a brace on his left knee, Shaun Livingston is ready to put his gruesome injury behind him and find his way back to the NBA spotlight. That plan began Saturday night at the SpiritBank Event Center.
Livingston, the fourth overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft, chipped in six points and three assists in just over 18 minutes of playing time as the Tulsa 66ers dropped their eighth straight decision with a 99-96 loss to Rio Grande Valley in an NBA Development League game.
With the loss, Tulsa fell to 7-28 overall, 3-15 at home.
"I’ve just been ready for the opportunity to play,” said Livingston, who hadn’t stepped on the court since he was a member of the Miami Heat in December. "Everything felt really good to me in the first half. I was just happy to be out there and playing again.”
Earlier on Saturday, the 66ers announced they had acquired the 6-foot-7 point guard, who has played in 149 regular-season NBA games. But it is perhaps his horrifying knee injury and subsequent comeback that has garnered the most attention.
During the 2006-07 season, Livingston appeared in 54 games for the Los Angeles Clippers, but things changed quickly for him against Charlotte on Feb. 26 when he landed awkwardly after driving to the basket. He had torn three ligaments and dislocated his kneecap in his left leg. At the time, it was described as "the most serious injury you can have to the knee,” by the Clippers’ team physician.
Three weeks later, he had reconstructive surgery, putting an end to his season. Livingston also missed the 2007-08 season, learning how to walk, run, and jump again.
"I’d say it’s probably 85-90 percent back,” Livingston said.