Summer Update: Reggie Bullock

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Looking back at his first season at North Carolina, Reggie Bullock can't remember one time when he was 100 percent healthy. Not one.

After getting surgery on his left meniscus during his senior year at Kinston High, Bullock returned to the court for the start of his freshman year last winter. But after the first week of the season, Bullock's meniscus started acting up again. After sitting out a few games, he chose to fight through the pain rather than getting surgery again.

By early January, Bullock could hardly play on it at all. By late February, he'd retorn his meniscus and was forced to shut down his season.

Since then Bullock has had the surgery. He doesn't have pain in it anymore. Now, it's just time to get stronger and maybe even back to 100 percent.

"That's the goal, to be 100 percent healthy," Bullock said. "Right now I'm at about 80 percent but still just strengthening my knee. Just basically it's all about strength right now."

Bullock is working closely with strength and conditioning coach Jonas Sahratian and head athletic trainer Chris Hirth to regain confidence in his knee. He's only allowed to jog right now but expects to start playing again by mid-July.

"It's been pretty hard because I love the game of basketball," Bullock said. "People told me the strongest thing to do is to come back from an injury and have a great season coming up. So I'm just trying to do anything possible to get my knee right and have a great sophomore season."

Bullock's knee has kept him off the court this summer but it hasn't stopped him from looking to improve his game. He's taken the opportunity to analyze pickup games from the sidelines rather than merely watching.

In particular, Bullock said he's focused on players like Shammond Williams when they play defense and looked at where they are on the floor. With several players vying for the same minutes on the wing, Bullock said he wants to distinguish himself with his defense.

"I knew sitting on the sidelines I had to learn something from the games that I could correct and it was on the defensive end. I knew I could become a better defensive player this sophomore season," Bullock said. "That's what I've really been trying to work on."

While he's anxious to get back on the court, Bullock said he's taken the advice of several former Tar Heels and isn't going to rush back before he's completely healthy.

"Shammond Williams told me to not rush it and take as much time as possible. Same thing from Jerry Stackhouse," Bullock said. "All the players out here -- Jawad Williams -- just telling me not to rush it."

In a sport where toughness is often questioned, Bullock said he feels more confident in his decision knowing accomplished players like Shammond Williams, Jawad Williams and Stackhouse back it.

"A lot of the players had the same injury I had," Bullock said. "And with me being young and not knowing what I could lose if I kept playing on it, hearing it from them makes me feel like ‘OK, I'm doing the right thing. I need to sit out and not listen to other people.'"

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