Bill Walker says, "There's nothing I can't do." Well, that's not entirely true. The explosiveness off the floor "... is there. I'm stronger than ever," he says.
But laterally, he admits, "I'm not as quick. I'm not 100 percent, but it will come back. It's getting better each day."
It was on Jan. 6, at Texas A&M that Walker drove the right side of the lane, planted his left leg for take-off, but collapsed to the floor with a ruptured ACL in his knee. It was just six games into his Kansas State career. His season was over.
"I don't know how it happened," Walker said. "It was like when you jam a finger and it sub-locks. I didn't feel the pain until I got to the locker room and they tried to bend it. I really thought I could get up and shake it off."
To some degree, Walker knew the pain, and what would be the rehabilitation routine after his Jan. 19 surgery.
It was heading into his freshman year in high school that the Huntington, W.Va., product was on a fast break and went up for a dunk -- yes, 14 years old and going in for a dunk -- when he landed awkwardly, tearing the ACL in his right knee.
Had it not been known that Walker had a previous knee surgery, K-State coach Frank Martin said, "... 90 percent of the people that didn't know him would say there's no way someone that athletic and that powerful could have had an ACL injury."
With this being the second such injury, Martin said, "It's given him a great deal of confidence that he can overcome this little bump in the road. He's in the best shape he's ever been in his life, and he's as strong as ever."
Walker, now 20, was repaired enough by June that he traveled to Italy where he played with a Reebok all-star team.
Ballooning to 265 pounds, or 40 pounds heavier than he arrived at K-State, the 6-foot-6 Walker said his summer play was just "OK."
"I blew up because I wasn't able to run much," Walker said of the weight. "I could have been a tight end, man. I wasn't uncomfortable, but it was uncomfortable for everybody watching me play."
Once back in the United States, Walker buddied up with KSU strength and conditioning coach Scott Greenawalt.
"I was put in the sweat shop," Walker said of the bike, to treadmill, to rowing machine routine that lasted up to an hour each day. "It was tough mentally. Everything Scott does prepares you mentally."
Walker's physique went from 265 pounds to 235, and his body fat from 19 percent to 15.
Walker is slated for small-forward duties where he will try to improve on his 11.3 scoring average, and certainly his 40 percent field goal shooting, which included 0-of-9 from 3-point range.
"His competitiveness and demeanor," said teammate Clent Stewart on what impressed him most about Walker. "He has a willingness to do whatever it takes to win. He's a great self-motivator. He's an athlete, but his competitiveness is just amazing."
Of that athletic talent, Stewart said, "Jaw-dropping. He plays above the rim; I can barely touch the rim."
Adding to that, David Hoskins said, "He's a special player. He's a guy who at a young age could lead this team. If we didn't have seniors, he'd be the No. 1 leader."
Ranked as the No. 6 player in the senior class of 2007, Walker is not listed on the NBADraft.net first-round mock draft, but that's likely due to the knee surgery.
This summer, Walker said that he hoped to be at one of the "round tables" at the April NBA Draft. Wednesday, he wasn't changing his tune.
"If everything goes as planned, I have that plan," Walker said. "But I can also see myself coming back if that's a better choice."