After sustaining a back injury as a rookie with the Milwaulkee Bucks that required surgery, Ford has never been quite the same. A collision with Timberwolves forward Mark Madsen sent Ford to the floor, landing on his tailbone. He underwent spinal fusion surgery and missed the entire following season.
Ford has played for both the Pacers and Raptors but joined the Spurs in December of 2011 to back up Tony Parker. He has only played 14 games this season due to injury. When Ford collided with Knicks guard Baron Davis, he laid on the floor motionless for several minutes. He decided then that the risk to his permanent health was no longer worth it.
“After last Wednesday, I felt being on the floor and being in that position one too many times,” Ford said in a statement. ” I feel like that was enough for me… That was the last basketball game you’ll see me play. I played the last five years with doctor’s orders not to play. I still defeated the odds with this condition. It’s tough because I know I can still play. If I had to play today, I could play. The tests came back negative. I just felt mentally and physically, my body has taken enough.”