Rafa Santos arrived at the Unicaja quarry in the summer of 2019 sponsored by Jesús Lázaro, former cajista player and current coach of the EBA team.. Base of the 2003 generation, international with Spain, he soon demonstrated with his game and his work that signing him from Cordobásket was a very good bet for the Los Guindos club.
The game director from Córdoba made his debut with the Unicaja first team on October 21, 2020 in a Eurocup match against Italian team Brescia. Santos, who scored the last basket of the game and played the last 64 secondsbecame at that time the second youngest youth player in history to debut with the Unicaja first team, surpassing none other than Domantas Sabonis.
Serious knee injury
His presence in the first team’s training sessions was becoming more and more common and his future was very promising. But everything took a radical turn in the summer 2021 preseason. On the first day of first team training he suffered a serious knee injury. Since then he began a real ordeal for a player who had just signed his first contract with the first team of the green and purple club.
Santos broke the cruciate ligament in his left knee. A serious injury that only got worse in the following months. His knee did not respond well to almost any recovery treatment, which has taken him to the operating room almost a dozen times, which has not despaired the player, who has continued working in search of his return to the fields.
796 days later
More than 700 days have passed since that mishap and this Friday, everything finally ended with his return to the slopes, in the match that Unicaja Andalucía played against Jaén corresponding to a new round of the EBA League. He was able to play 12 minutes supported by his teammates and under the watchful eye of the president, Antonio Jesús López Nieto, the sports director, Juanma Rodríguez, the youth team director, Ramón García and a good part of his family and friends from Córdoba .
On the club’s social networks, an emotional speech by Lázaro could be seen in the locker room after the game, appreciating the effort. Rafa Santos feels like a player again 796 days later. And that is great news for him, for Unicaja and for basketball.