Starting off our new blog "Conversations", our first conversation is with Phoenix Sun's very own TJ Warren. Having recently played for the Indiana Pacers (where we are based out of), we first got in touch during the pandemic in which Warren managed a career high 53 points in the NBA bubble before going through a series of foot surgeries. Now having finally recovered after almost 2 years of rehab, we come back to converse about his mental/physical rehab process and his mindset going into the playoffs.
First and foremost, how are you doing currently? I understand you went almost 2 full years off the court having undergone multiple foot surgeries, but are now back on the court after a long hiatus
I am doing great mentally and physically right now, excited to continue to push myself to new levels and limits
Can you just walk me through that process not only physically through rehab but mentally, being away from the game you’ve played your whole life?
It is very tough to have something that you’ve had your whole life be taken away from you, which is what happened to me. I love the game and to not be able to do it on the highest level was hard. I have a great support system around me that kept reminding me of the light that was at the end of the rehab tunnel
Did you work with a mental health professional during your recovery?
Yes I did and I encourage not just other athletes but anyone to really take time and get in tune with your mental health
Can you share any daily practices or habits that you engage in to maintain your happiness and well-being outside of basketball?
I started meditating, I really tapped back in with hobbies that have made me happy my whole life. I got even closer with friends and family. These things really put life into perspective for me when I needed it most
What advice would you give to an athlete who’s dealing with injuries/setbacks and struggling with their mental health as a result?
I would say to cherish the small victories and that a bunch of small victories on top of each-other are what make major wins. I found joy in learning to walk again, which turned into jogging, jogging turned into running, etc
Now with you guys making the playoffs and getting ready to play this next week, how excited again are you for playoff basketball and to get back to that atmosphere of the game?
I am very excited to experience the playoffs, the playoffs are an electric environment and up to this point in my career my only taste of the playoffs was in the bubble in front of limited fans. There’s nothing like playoff atmosphere and I'm just glad I get to experience it in totality this year
To keep up with TJ and his performance through this year's playoffs, be sure to watch the Phoenix Suns as they start their 7 game series vs the LA Clippers this Sunday!