Q&A: Eldridge Massington

New wide receiver Eldridge Massington talks about enrolling early and the different things he's doing to rehab his knee before spring practice...

Eldridge Massington, the 6-3, 205-pound receiver from Mesquite (Tex.) West Mesquite, has been enrolled at UCLA for Winter Quarter.

Q: How's everything going with rehab?

A: Everything's been going great, I've been rehabbing every day. Doing the team workouts and stuff and just trying to get better everyday.

Q: What kind of stuff are you doing?

A: I'm doing the team workouts, which involves running and weights and that kind of stuff. And then I go to rehab after that, which involves strengthening my quad, and then getting more flexibility in my hips and my hamstring. I do a lot of balance stuff too, to get my leg stabilized. It's really working on getting my confidence back in the knee, both mentally and physically.

Q: Is that just about getting back to the point where you can trust the knee when you plant and that sort of thing?

A: Yeah, that's the hard part. I've got a brace that I work out in too, just in case, that's to keep my knee stabilized that hopefully I won't have to wear too much longer. But that's the main thing. It's just getting all of that confidence back so I don't think about it. Even though I think I'm good, and I think I'm ready, it's still something that's deep in my mind that scares me a little bit.

Q: That was last summer that it happened, right?

A: Yeah.

Q: It was about five or six months where you were rehabbing on your own. Can you talk about the differences between rehabbing on your own and then rehabbing in a real strength and conditioning program?

A: What it's made me realize is that I really have to put pressure on this knee. I actually started favoring my other leg a lot during my own rehab back at home, and they kind of noticed that, so I need to start balancing out better, since that could cause more injury. It's all about trusting my knee, which will come over time.

Q: Do you remember the day the injury happened?

A: Yeah, it was July 17th.

Q: You remember exactly how it happened?

A: Oh yeah. I was at a camp in Tennessee and I was doing 1 on 1's, and I was running a fade route. I planted to stick to the ball, and my leg hyperextended.

Q: So it was a non-contact type injury?

A: Yeah, I wasn't getting contact. I was just trying to plant to the ball and I planted wrong. I was actually kind of bummed—if that's going to happen, at least I could have gotten knocked out or something dramatic. But no, it was just a bad plant.

Q: What's your status for spring?

A: It all depends on what they do. It all depends on where I'm at in my rehab. If they feel like I can go, they may ease my way into it. At the beginning of spring, I may have the red shirt just to let people know that I'm not getting contact, but after the start of spring, I may be able to get a little bit of contact. I don't know if I'm going to be able to participate in the spring game or not, though.

Q: You've been in school now since January 7th, how's it been adjusting to the academic side of things?

A: At first it was a little overwhelming, but I took to it pretty fast. It was cool. It wasn't really a hard thing, because I felt pretty ready for it. Actually, coming to college is a bit more laid back than it is in high school.

Q: Do you have plans to head back to Texas for graduating and prom and that sort of thing?

A: Actually, the coaches just approved it. I'm going back to prom and graduating and I'm going to go back down for spring break too.

Q: Obviously, you kind of famously decommitted from USC after they didn't have an early enrollee spot for you. Was it kind of immediate that you decided you couldn't go there?

A: Yeah, because that was the main thing for me, because I wanted to go to a school early so I could rehab my knee and finish it off strong. So if I couldn't do that, I wasn't going.

Q: Had you already gotten used to the idea of coming to LA, was that why UCLA was a nice option for you?

A: No, actually, after USC, I wasn't even considering UCLA. One day, I got a call from Coach Mora, Coach Martin, and Coach Klemm. And I was like, Coach Mora, I have to call Coach Mora back because it was Jim Mora and I was fascinated by that. Then after I called him, I talked to Coach Yarbs, and he gave me his background and so I started building a relationship with them, and that's just kind of how it happened. I wasn't planning on coming back to LA or anything like that, it just sort of happened.

Q: I remember you mentioned you were still thinking about doing track, is that something where you'd even consider it while you're doing rehab, or is that more of a next year type thing?

A: I'm still working it out with the coaches. We're talking it over right now. I was thinking about doing it after the spring because I want to get my speed where it needs to be and also test out my leg. I'm trying to aim for running after the spring.

Q: And you're still working that out with the coaches?

A: Yeah, they want me to focus entirely on rehab, and just doing what the trainers tell me to do.


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