In the crucial Game 5 of the Toronto Raptors' playoff battle with the Miami Heat, DeMar DeRozan was having thumb issues. Early in the game, he jammed the digit on his right hand, his ever-important shooting hand. The Raptors couldn't afford to have their star shooting guard, who had struggled throughout the Eastern Conference Semifinals, hampered any more than he already was.
DeRozan's thumb was so uncomfortable, he said it felt like a "blowtorch on my hand." With DeRozan visibly struggling, Raptors director of sports science Alex McKechnie found a remedy that could have been lifted right out of an episode of MacGyver. McKenchnie simply tied a red shoe lace around DeRozan's thumb, pulled it taut and sent him on his way.
Never seen this before… (DeMar DeRozan thumb wrap with a shoe string) pic.twitter.com/JtVlt15sYw
— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) May 12, 2016
McKechnie's solution worked wonders. With his thumb stabilized, DeRozan went on to have his best game of the series, pouring in 34 points on 11 for 22 shooting from the field. His scoring outburst helped propel the Raptors to a 99-91 victory. With one more win against the Heat, they can move on to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"I'd never seen it before. Whatever works, whatever means necessary," Raptors head coach Dwane Casey told the Toronto Star. "Alex is one of the best. That's why he's one of the best in the business, with his methods. I had never seen that before."
Will the red shoe lace make a return tonight in Miami? For DeRozan's sake, maybe it should.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock