HESSON READY FOR PATIENCE TO PAY BACK

Nine months. Of waiting. Of recuperation. Of aches and strains. Of boredom.

Of more waiting. And then, finally, a return.

Myles Hesson stepped foot competitively on a court for the first time since last February in Leicester on Friday night, bringing to an end the process which began when his right tibia fractured unexpectedly and placed the Brummie swingman on the sidelines for almost a year.

A metal rod was placed inside his leg with two screws holding his shin back together so it might heal.

“The rehab process was long,” he says. “I was off my feet for a few weeks. After about three weeks, I started trying to strengthen the leg back because you lose a lot of muscle.

“There were a lot of stages of pain.” Not yet done, he admits.

“I’m at the stage where I can play with minimal pain. With time it’s going to go but it’s not easy.”

The blow could have hardly been less timely. Over the past five seasons, the 27-year-old has become the poster boy for a British system which has developed precious few talents from the cradle to major league.

A product of the City of Birmingham club, Hesson started out in the lower reaches of the EBL before a leap to the chronically-awful Essex Pirates before fully flourishing with another long-defunct BBL team, the Mersey Tigers.

Then comes that fork in the road. Most stay, few go. He leapt, to Germany’s third tier. It was a gamble that paid off spectacularly, jumping up a division in consecutive seasons before spending the past two terms in France’s Pro A.

A man in demand, it was with Gravelines where his body caved in, 19 games into a campaign where he was averaging 12 points and 5 rebounds.

Already a first choice in Joe Prunty’s Great Britain line-up, he had no option but to bide his time and painstakingly nurse himself back to rude health.

“It was rough being away from the game,” he confesses. “EuroBasket came along and I missed that. Same with the feeling of game days. It’s not the same in practice.

“My little family kept me sane. My daughter is a year and a half so she keeps me busy. That took my mind off things.”

The one huge upside of being ordered to rest up, he smiles.

But the player within was keen to combine parenthood with performing. And nine points in 19 minutes against Greece in GB’s opening World Cup qualifier were the first steps to reclaiming his previous trajectory.

“I approached it like any other game really,” he revealed of the overtime loss.

“I have been playing for a long while now. There was no point second-guessing myself. I just tried to play how I normally do.

“Personally it was nice to shake the rust off. It was just a shame we didn’t get the win. We dug deep late on. It was just a little too late and they made a great shot to win the game.”

On Monday evening, redemption will be sought in Tallinn. Estonia, defeated in their opener by Israel, represent an opportunity for British atonement.

“We want a win,” Hesson declares. “And if we play anything like we did against Greece we’ll get it.”

Then, more unknown beckons. He has been training with Leicester Riders while returning to full strength. With two games to prove his readiness for the fray, now he will wait for his agent’s phone to ring. Destination unknown.

Having signed with French outfit Nanterre last May, only for the deal to fall through, he will listen to all offers.

“My deal Nanterre was dissolved in August. There were a few issues behind the scenes. So I’m a free agent now I’m optimistic something will come up.”

After nine months, what is a few weeks more?

“Whatever happens, happens,” Hesson declares. “I’m not really forcing the issue.”

Watch Estonia v Great Britain live on MVP247.com from 5pm on Monday

Photo: Mansoor Ahmed

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