Bouncing Back

Foot and ankle injuries derailed the senior season of incoming basketball freshman Alex Ruoff, and he was still limited during West Virginia's summer basketball camps. Ruoff, along with fellow newcomer Joe Alexander, recently wrapped up a summer school session at WVU, where he worked diligently on a rehabilitation program.

"My foot and ankle are doing well," Ruoff said as he summed up his progress to date. "I'm back to playing full speed now. I don't have any pain when I'm playing. I still have a little soreness afterward, but it's not a problem."

Ruoff has been working hard with the WVU athletic training and strength and conditioning staffs to get himself in top shape for his upcoming freshman season, and that includes a regimen specifically targeted at bringing his foot and ankle back to 100%.

"I'm still doing rehab on it, but it's mostly preventative now," Ruoff explained. "We're trying to get it to a point where it won't happen again. The rehab is about an hour a day in addition to the other weightlifting we do."

Ruoff admitted earlier this summer that the aftereffects of the injuries were still having an effect on his game. His mobility and quickness were obviously reduced, but it also affected his shooting. Since he was unable to apply equal pressure to both feet on his jump shots, he found himself off balance, which had a negative effect on his accuracy.

After continuing through the daily rehab sessions, however, Ruoff believes he is rounding back into form.

"It's not having any effects on my game now," Ruoff said with evident relief. "I fell like I am getting back into shape and where I was before. It's not affecting my shooting now at all."

Ruoff, like Alexander, was taken aback by how hard the Mountaineers work in the weight room.

"It's been much more than I expected," the Florida star admitted. "The lifting is really tough. I thought I was a hard worker when I came here, but the intensity and the work level is nothing like I've experienced anywhere else."

Like Alexander, Ruoff will soon head back home for a break before beginning the fall semester at WVU, but it's probably a break in name only. Now that he knows the level at which he'll be expected to work, he doesn't plan to waste any time on his home turf.

"I have a workout plan, and I'll keep doing the rehab exercises too," Ruoff vowed. "I've been working with Coach Giosi (Jeff Giosi, the assistant strength and conditioning coach in charge of the men's and women's basketball teams). He has a whole plan laid out for me, and I'll be following that all the time I'm at home."


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