"I tore my hamstring completely last year in spring practice," Jessen said in a recent interview with CF.C.
He hasn't practiced since then and isn't listed on the team roster released the other day. Asked about his outlook for the coming year, Jessen was straightforward: "up in the air."
When the tear happened, he said, surgery was an option, but the odds were too great of his speed being permanently impaired, so he opted instead to pursue natural healing.
It's been an arduous process.
THE BUFFED SPRINTER: At Mead in Spring '06.
In addition, he says he's working out two hours a day, either in the varsity weight room or the Student Rec Center. "I spend an hour-and-fifteen-minutes lifting, do 20 minutes of core work and 30 minutes of cardio," he said.
The cardio offers insight to how far he's come and how far he still has to go. When he first started his rehab, he couldn't go for more than a few minutes on the treadmill. Now he's jogging at four miles-per-hour for a half-hour.
"I think I'm in the best shape of my life, other than the hamstring," he said.
Aside from the physical challenge, there's the mental one, said Jessen.
"It's the worst feeling and athlete could get. Getting here (to WSU) and not being able to play because of an injury is hard. It's very disappointing ... Everyone in Spokane always asks about football –- nobody really wants to know about family or school. It's football. I don't really like to talk about it."
Mattingly and teammates Trevor Mooney and Reid Forrest help keep his spirits up, he said.
Jessen is no stranger to hamstring troubles. In high school, he rushed for 3,669 yards and was on pace to break a variety of Greater Spokane League career records when a hamstring strain ended his senior campaign at the season's midpoint.
FALL CAMP 2006: Jessen takes handoff from Arkelon Hall.