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Friday, January 21, 2011

Ty Armstrong talks about his surprising return to the court after offseason knee surgery

Auburn might be winless in SEC play but it got a shot in the arm when forward Ty Armstrong made his season debut Thursday after having offseason ACL surgery.

Armstrong, a sophomore who injured himself this summer and had surgery in August, made his return to the court against Florida, playing 8 minutes and finishing with 2 points and 3 rebounds.

Because he returned in the second half of the season, he is no longer eligible for a medical redshirt.

"We've been going through ups and downs and I couldn't just stand back and not just play," Armstrong said. "I still have two years left, so I just think those two years I can use to get better as well. I just feel like I didn't play much last year. I just wanted some more experience."

Head coach Tony Barbee thinks the 6-foot-9 Armstrong will help Auburn in the post, where center Rob Chubb is the only other player taller than 6-8.

Frankie Sullivan returned last month from a similar injury but suffered from lingering effects that will force him out the rest of this season. Naturally, Barbee is going to be cautious with Armstrong.

"You always want a player who wants to do more, but there's also realization that he wasn't ready for more," Barbee said. "And that's where I want to keep him taking baby steps. You're not ready for 25 minutes. You're not ready for us to be just jamming the ball down your throat.

"But you just keep taking baby steps, because he's not even close to game sharp, game ready, any of those things. So he's going to have to gradually work his way into that."

Here's what Armstrong had to say today:

(You're back)
"I've been practicing with the team, doing a lot of the drills, workouts, doing a lot of the plays, whatever, and I felt like it was in my best interest to play. And I talked to coach about it and asked him if it was OK to get back out there. Everything went well, so I got back in the game and tried to help my team."
(Did Frankie's knee injury give you pause?)
"I thought about it, but I feel like as long as I do things that I'm supposed to with rehab and take those precautions seriously and taking things slow when I get in the game, I'll be fine."
(Is the brace you have to wear an adjustment?)
"Actually, they told me once I put the brace on and I realize it's on there, but yeah, it really didn't bother me at all. The first week I got it it was kind of a weird feeling, but after that I was fine. I've been wearing it for so long."
(Frankie pushed you during rehab and vice versa)
"It was fun. It was crazy how competitive it was. We were always competitive before the knee injury. We were in the weight room, we were always looking at each other, 'I'm going to do more than you,' and stuff like that. We always went at each other in a fun kind of way. Once we both got knee injuries, we both wanted to come back and play, so every day we were pushing each other, not in a negative way, making fun of each other and just having fun with it. Trying to make something good out of a bad situation."
(How can you help this team?)
"I feel like right now, my position I'm not fully back to offensive-wise, doing things I know I can do or should be doing. But I feel I can definitely get in there and rebound and be an extra big body to the team and bring some physicality when we're playing in the SEC against other big people. So I think me being a physical presence in the game is something I can contribute to."

1 comment:

Aubiester said...

NCAA has some bizzaro rules.