The one bright side to the injury was that it did not involve any ligaments, and the tear was such that the cartilage could be repaired, rather than removed. Thoroughman naturally opted for the first option, and as a result doesn't expect any long-term problems with his knee.
"After the surgery, my coach and I did 2-3 weeks of rehab in a pool," he detailed. "Then we did weights and a lot of running and cutting. The rehab went very well, and I don't think I will have any permanent problems with it."
Thoroughman's dedication to his rehab program allowed him to come back very quickly from the injury. He was cleared by his doctor on a Friday, and actually returned to the court that night to play in one of his final two regular season games. However, as every athlete returning from injury discovers, being cleared to play medically doesn't mean that you are ready to return to the action full-bore.
"My conditioning was really bad," Thoroughman recalled with a rueful laugh when he recounted his return to the floor. "My knee was O.K., but I just wasn't in game shape at all. That first game back, we played the team that won the conference championship, and we were up by 14 points in the first half before we ended up losing. We had lost to them by a bunch when I was out, so we played better, but it was still tough to take."
Thoroughman ended up playing two tournament games in addition to his final two regular season outings, but still felt hampered by his lack of conditioning. That's the last thing to come back during the rehab and workout process, and the Portsmouth star simply didn't have the time to get back into game shape before the season was over. However, he has gotten more good feedback from his repaired knee since the end of the season, and has seen his conditioning improve as well.
"I played in a couple of All-Star games recently, and everything felt 100%," he said of his most recent outings. "I had three dunks in the Ohio-Kentucky All-Star game, and I played pretty well in a district all-star game too."
Although Thoroughman's high school basketball career is over, he still represents Portsmouth, albeit on a different court.
"I'm actually playing tennis for the school right now," said Thoroughman, who had played the sport recreationally in the past but had to be coaxed by his high school coach to join the team. "I started out playing tennis for fun, and I took lessons back in the sixth grade. The tennis coach has always been on me to play, and he finally asked me just to come to the games so we could have a team. I came out, and liked it, and so I'm on the team playing now. I'm playing doubles, and although we aren't that good (Thoroughman and his partner are a respectable 3-3 to date), I've been having fun with it."
While the specter of a 6-7 high schooler with a giant wingspan conjures visions of an intimidating presence at the net, Thoroughman knows his future lies on the basketball, rather than the tennis, court. Before he moves to Morgantown for the second semester of summer school in July, he will concentrate on basketball, via open gym and pickup games as well as workouts.
"I will still work with the team before I come to WVU," Thoroughman said of his plans for the next two months. "I plan to do a lot of plyometrics in addition to lifting so I can be as ready as I can."
Thoroughman wasn't as caught up in the John Beilein coaching watch as many WVU fans until Wednesday.
"I had been following it, but it wasn't that big of a thing until a TV station called me to talk to me about Beilein leaving. That's when I realized it was a serious matter. I'm glad that's over with."