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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Motivation not hard to find for Auburn guard Frankie Sullivan in recovery from ACL injury

It pained Frankie Sullivan to sit on the bench as Auburn's basketball team struggled to start the season. It was all the more motivation for the guard to work his way back.

Sullivan made his season debut last night against South Florida, scoring four points in 10 minutes, a short but satisfying moment in his recovery from a torn ACL suffered this summer.

"I've been talking to the doctors, and we've all been making a day for me to come back," said the junior, Auburn's leading returner in scoring and rebounding from last season. "I felt like I was ready last night to try my knee out, and that's what I did."

Sullivan suffered a complete tear of his left ACL during a pickup game this summer. He had surgery near the end of July. Doctors gave him a five-month recovery time. He got back in 4 1/2.

Sullivan doesn't know what he'll be able to do this season -- whether that means a cap on minutes or seeking a medical redshirt if he has a setback in the next couple games. He's treating everything on a game-by-game basis.

But he knew he couldn't sit out the whole season.

"It's been real tough, because I know if I was healthy I could help my team out," Sullivan said. "At the same time, it's a learning year for the guys. We've got a lot of young guys. I'm pretty sure as the season progresses you can see progression coming on with the team and we're doing things that we weren't doing in the first game, second game. We're just going to pick it up from here. And I think it's a learning year for us."

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Some other notes and quotes from today's interview with Sullivan:
  • On how he felt on the floor: "It felt pretty good actually. It surprised me actually. I thought I was going to have a little setback when I was on the court, but I thought I moved pretty well when I was out there." He acknowledged he won't have the quickness right away, saying he could be more of a standstill shooter.
  • Apparently, head coach Tony Barbee left the decision to play up to Sullivan. "Everything was up to me and my family, basically," he said. "Coach Barbee is a real modest guy. He lets you make your own decisions and your own future, but at the same time I do respect his wishes and me playing or not playing."
  • Sullivan said he pushed it pretty hard to get back in 4 1/2 months. "They say five months," he said. "But it's all up to you, what you do in rehab, how you take care of yourself, your body during the process."
  • He's still doing rehab daily (and expects to "until forever," he said). That includes squats, leg raises with weights on his leg and stretching to get the extension back in his knee. "Just the little things that you need, getting out on the court defending and little minor jumping and things like that," he said.
  • Does he worry about injuring it again with a sharp cut? "Truth be told, my uncle always tells me I've got a wild man's mind. When I get on the court, all my problems go away," he said. "That's why I like being on the court so much. I don't think as much about me hurting myself. If you go out there thinking that you're going to hurt yourself, then in time you will. So I don't even think about being hurt."
  • Teammate Ty Armstrong suffered an ACL tear around the same time. Although Armstrong is ahead of schedule, Sullivan didn't know if the sophomore would be back this season. "We'd be pushing it there, for real," he said. "Because it'd be the end of the season. He'd be missing a lot of games. Like coach said, it's up to him. He's going to give him the same options. It's up to him whether he comes back or not."


Anonymous said...

I'm convinced if the Sullivan and Armstrong injuries don't happen we're sitting here at 7-2 or 6-3 instead of 3-6.

Clint Richardson said...

Aubie, your right. One major reason we are where we are is because of experience and leadership. This team is as young as the football team is experienced. I expect a complete turn-around next year, just praying Barbee's offseason doesn't end like it has this year. I was really looking forward to this season, but seems like it's time to just be over...