After telling reporters prior to the Rose Bowl that he had suffered a torn PCL in his left knee but that he had ruled out surgery, Pryor said the decision to go under the knife was a joint one between he and head coach Jim Tressel.
Asked if the surgery will affect him for spring football, which starts April 1, Pryor said, "I don't think so. It's a minor surgery. Some people come back in a week. It just depends on how you heal. We're taking it slow because we don't have to push it."
The initial plan was to work to strengthen the knee, but consistent pain helped Pryor opt for the surgery. It marked the first time he has ever underwent surgery. The procedure was performed by head team physician Chris Kaeding, who is also director of the OSU Sports Medicine Center.
"When Dr. Kaeding looked into it there were a lot of things that went wrong," said Pryor, speaking at a charity video game event designed to raise funds to fight Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, a rare neurological condition his father suffers from. "We just felt that if we did it now it would be better. It feels a lot better than when I was playing on it."
Pryor said he had the stitches taken out of his knee last week and is currently undergoing therapy with OSU director of conditioning Eric Lichter.
"I'm doing some pretty heavy weight," he said. "My legs are catching up. I keep getting cramps because they're weak but I'm getting back."
The recovery process took about a week after the surgery, which was performed February 10.
"I laid at home for a week, for about five days and then went in and started doing upper-body work because my upper body got weak from sitting at home taking pain pills," he said. "I lost a lot of weight because I wasn't eating."
The injured knee was enough to make Pryor question whether he would be able to dunk a basketball. As the football team was honored for its 2009 season during halftime of the men's basketball team's Feb. 3 home game against Penn State, Pryor threw down a two-handed dunk while the team walked off the court to the delight of the fans.
Sunday, he said he was concerned at the time that his knee would be too weak to allow him to do so but said the adrenaline took over.
In his workouts with Lichter, Pryor said he has been working on his throwing accuracy by kneeling on the ground and throwing. In addition, the two are working on his dropbacks. So far, they are avoiding drills that would require Pryor to cut on the knee.
As a result, Pryor has not yet been able to take part in team workouts.
"I haven't really seen any of them work out since I had the surgery," he said. "It's just bad because you lose out on getting the leadership in. you have surgery and you're out for four or five weeks, that's the only thing I'm missing right now. I'm just real happy about getting back in there and leading and pushing everyone to the limit."
Pryor said he has not yet watched his Rose Bowl performance in which he threw for a career-high 266 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 72 more yards in a 26-17 victory against Oregon. Instead, he has been watching film on the team's two losses from last season as well as film of upcoming opponent Miami (Fla.).
"What I'm going to emphasize this year as a quarterback and a leader on the offense and the defense also, I'm going to emphasize one game at a time so when that game is here we're going to treat it like it's our last game of the season," he said. "We're going to act like each game is the hardest game we're going to play and if we take that approach and study film better and know the defense better, we'll be better."
During the days immediately after the surgery, Pryor said he relied on roommate Andrew Sweat – who is recovering from a torn ACL himself – to help him around the apartment.
Pryor has also been boosted by the kindness of strangers.
"I had some stuff come in the mail, some people sending me fruit," he said. "Buckeye fans, I don't know how they got my address but thank you all for that. I ate a lot of fruit. I got a lot of letters from fans telling me to get well."