PORTLAND, Ore. — Shaun Livingston isn’t sure when the flashback might rear its ugly head.
It could crop up upon entry into the Staples Center on Wednesday night. Or maybe while he sits on the bench and wonders aimlessly while watching the starters. Or perhaps when he makes his initial drive to the rim for the same routine lay-up attempt that ended in agony two years ago.
For now, Livingston can only hope the memory of his near career-ending knee injury doesn’t play out in his head as he competes for the first time in the building in which he nearly lost it all.
"I know it’ll bring back memories of everything that I’ve done there,” said Livingston, the recently signed Thunder guard who spent an injury-plagued four seasons with the Clippers. "That’s where I started my career, the playoff run and all the good memories.”
But Livingston’s worst memory also was made there, the result of the Feb. 26, 2007, injury that derailed a promising career.
While Wednesday’s game against the Clippers might simply be 82 of 82 for his Thunder teammates, Livingston is looking at it as Game 8 on the road to resurrecting his career. The irony is it’ll take place where he was forced to start over.
"Guys are ready to get out,” Livingston said. "I’ve been there as well. But now it is a different situation (for me). It’ll be more motivation for me.
"That’s how I’m taking every single game ... I’m just taking it a game at a time, trying to bounce back and use this momentum to take me into the off-season and come back stronger next year.”
Clippers fans will see a different player than the athletic 6-foot-7 point guard that often made them drop their jaws.