Body Mechanics: How Nicolas Batum Has Bounced Back from Injuries with Therapy Expert Fabrice Gautier
Introducing “Body Mechanics” with European osteopath and physical therapist Fabrice Gautier—who trains dozens of NBA, NFL, MLB and soccer players—where select clients take you inside their private sessions on the training table.
LOS ANGELES -- On the Charlotte Hornets’ first road trip of 2019, after a 119-113 win over the Phoenix Suns, forward Nicolas Batum relaxes in LA—but not with a fancy meal on La Cienega Boulevard or a shopping spree on Rodeo Drive. Instead, he spends his free time on a session with physical therapist and European osteopath Fabrice Gautier.
Despite the uncharacteristic downpour of rain on an early January day, Nicolas still ventures out to Beverly Hills, where Fabrice treats him in his office at LA Main Physical Therapy. After working together for nearly 11 years, the two Frenchmen make it a priority to see each other whenever they're in the same city.
But work and treatment aside, the two have created a bond and now regard each other as friends. From Nicolas’ first game as an NBA player in 2008 to a fruitless attempt at fishing together in Charlotte, their connection is indelible.
Nicolas and Fabrice first met on October 28, 2008. That night, Nic, then a rookie for the Portland Trail Blazers, punctuated his NBA debut with an emphatic dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.
“My agent introduced him to me,” Nicolas tells CloseUp360. “My agent had other players work with Fabrice already. So [he] see if I need something. We played here in LA and he came to the game. We met, we started talking. I started seeing him 10 years ago. I see him like every two months now. I spend my summer with him now. I spend more time with him than my own wife.”
Through session after session, Nicolas and Fabrice’s relationship blossomed into much more than a typical therapist-patient rapport.
“We're friends now,” Nicolas says. “[Right] now we're working, but we're friends. We talk and we call each other.”
"We go fishing together in Charlotte,” Fabrice says.
“We did fish together. We didn't [catch] anything, but we tried,” Nicolas says, with a laugh.
“He has this magic in his hands,” Nicolas says. “He knows what’s wrong with my body before I say something. And he’s right. Every time he’s right. So like when I need something or something hurts, I know he's just one phone call away. He's gonna fix it for you. Instead of being out like two weeks, [I’m] going to be out three days. He's special. He's a special one.”
Beyond Fabrice’s unique techniques blending osteopathy and physical therapy, Nicolas appreciates the way in which “The Body Mechanic” keeps tabs on his health and reaches out when he sees something is amiss.
“Before I call him when [I'm] getting off the court, in the locker room [my] phone says, ‘Okay, call me,’” Nicolas says. “He's the first text. He knows.”
“I watch the games,” Fabrice says. “Just by the stats sometimes I can tell something’s fishy.”
“I feel good, especially after like so many months I haven't seen him,” Nicolas says. “I called him last week. I'm, like, ‘I'll be in there next week. I really need to see you. My body is all messed up.’ And I know I'll feel it tomorrow during the game.
“Sometimes after the session, I don't already feel a difference. It's the next day when you're on the court. You can feel like you're moving better, you're jumping faster, jumping higher, you're running faster because you work on some stuff like you needed to. So you know I'm going to feel it the next day—tomorrow morning for sure.”
Fabrice's Techniques with Nic
Working on the mobility of his left psoas major.
Checking the mobility of his cervicothoracic region.
Correcting a compression of his tibiotalar joint.
Correcting a compression of his left C0-C1 joint.
End-of-session normalization of his craniosacral rhythm between his occipital and sternum.
(Photos by A.J. Lising)
“During the  playoffs, I had a huge sprained ankle after Game 2,” Nicolas says. “I was supposed to be out like two, three weeks and I played Game 5, 6 and 7. And it was a pretty bad [sprained ankle].”
“I flew to Miami,” Fabrice recalls. “We spent seven hours straight on his ankle. Drain [the ankle] using the inflammation to your advantage. The inflammation goes and then after [we] work with the swelling. [We] worked with the biomechanics and retrain the central nervous system with the new range of motion to prepare him to play.”
“When I get an injury,” Nicolas says, “he's my first call every time.”
Click here for our profile on Fabrice inside his journey from idolizing Magic Johnson to developing his "magic" treatment.
Stay tuned for the next installment of “Body Mechanics” with fellow Frenchman and Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier.