Bloomington – Derek Elston is running circles in an attempt to get ready for his senior season at Tipton (Ind.) H.S.
The IU-bound Class of 2009 recruit is in the final stages of rehab following his May knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He's been free of his knee brace for a month and has been doing a lot of running and a little bit of jumping in an effort to get ready for the start of the season.
Among the things he's been doing is running circles around the outside of Tipton High School for 32 minutes in an effort to simulate the amount of running he'll have to do in a course of a basketball game. Elston said the results from his rehab work have been very positive.
"After doing all the running I don't feel any pain, and anything they want me to do I do it with ease," Elston said.
Barring any last-minute setbacks, the 6'8", 205-pound forward said he should be able to return to the basketball court in a limited capacity in about two weeks. He'll initially participate in only a portion of the team's practice drills, but he said he should be back without restrictions by the end of September.
"It's a little frustrating because there's a little bit of me saying I think I'm ready," Elston said. "But I've been waiting two or three months, so why not wait a couple of more weeks."
As difficult as his summer on the sidelines has been, Elston realizes it could have been a lot worse. When he originally went down with the knee injury in mid-May, he admits he thought he had torn a knee ligament and that his basketball future was in doubt.
A subsequent medical evaluation allayed those fears, and Elston knows he should be able to play his senior season with no ill effects from the spring injury.
"It's by far the best feeling I've had in a very, very long time knowing I'm about ready to come back," Elston said. "By the first game it should be the old me again."
While Scout.com's 90th-ranked player in ‘09 is looking forward to getting back together with his Tipton H.S. teammates, he's also excited about his future with the IU program as well. While he was unable to participate, he was in Bloomington two weekends ago for the Indiana Elite Camp and had a chance to sit down with future teammates Bobby Capobianco and Jordan Hulls for an extended visit for the first time.
"Me, Jordy and Bobby had a great time all day," Elston said. "That's the first time I've really been able to hang around with those guys, and as soon as I did I found out they were just like me. That was the best part of the day."
Elston was also glad to be able to see IU Coach Tom Crean, who remained in close contact immediately after the injury and throughout the summer, and said his support helped him a great deal in recent months. Crean even coaxed Elston out onto the court a couple of times during the elite camp.
"When they were out playing, coach was always like, ‘Derek, let's see your 3 ball,' and I get a few shots up," Elston said. "He's always saying he can't wait to have me out there. Things like that, having me down and keeping in contact to see how I'm doing, those things have helped me get through it."
Elston: "I'll Be the Old Me Again"
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