On The Mend

Curtis Justus came to the University of Miami as one of the highest rated tight end prospects in the country out of high school. He has been slowed by a major leg injury in November 2001 that he is still recovering from. Another surgery could be in store before we see him on the field in a Hurricane uniform.

At 6-5 and 205 pounds Curtis Justus possessed a rare blend of speed and athleticism for a high school tight end. One that normally would guarantee early playing time at the college level but Justus has been slowed by a major injury that he suffered on the last play of his prep career.

Justus broke his lower leg, his ankle and also dislocated his ankle on the same play where two defenders converged on him and tackled him around his legs. This happened about 18 months ago and it is still not fully healed.

"I'm scheduled to see the doctor again in a couple of months," said Justus who is now at 6-6 and 217 pounds. "The ankle is having trouble healing."

An understatement to say the least by a clearly frustrated player who is anxious to get his college career started. It is especially frustrating sitting on the sidelines at a program like Miami where the tight end is such a prominent part of the offense.

"It is real frustrating but I'll be back as soon as possible," said Justus. "Unfortunately there is just no timetable on it being fully healed."

There is also a possibility of another surgery to correct the way the ankle bones have settled following the first surgery.

"My ankle is about 2 millimeters off-center the doctor says so I may have to have another surgery to correct that," he said. "I'll find that out this summer when I go in to see him."

For now, the ankle is preventing him from participating in team drills but Justus is able to work out with teammates and do some route running. He can run straight ahead only and do some slight change of direction but nothing close to a sudden change of direction.

"For now I'm just continuing to work on my balance and the range of motion on my ankle," he said. "I just want to strengthen it as much as I can. I have been doing some 7-on-7 drills until my ankle gets sore. Not a lot of them but I have been doing them."

Though he is frustrated by the lingering injury, Justus says college has been a positive experience overall.

"Everything considered things are going well here," he added. "I'm in the Business school and things are going well but I haven't chosen a major yet."

Justus, who plans to return home for the first summer session, will be back for the second session and will be working out with the team -- hopefully at full speed. Until then he continues to workout with the team and he feels whether he is back this season or not the 2003 Hurricanes are primed for another run at the title.

"Everyone is really stepping it up to avenge last season's disappointing ending," he said.

For now Justus continues to work out but he is confident he still has plenty of time remaining for him to make his mark as a Hurricane.

"I'll be healed here soon I hope and when I do I'll be ready to get to work," he said. "I think this is a great situation and having the offensive coordinator also being my position coach is a good thing."

Following spring drills Justus was asked about the quarterback race that has garnered so much attention.

"I think anyone can get it, I wouldn't want to make that decision," he said with a chuckle.

Canes Time Top Stories