Leuer Addresses Injury, Future

Wisconsin junior Jon Leuer addresses the Wisconsin media for the first time since breaking a bone in his non-shooting wrist January 9. Leuer is expected to play Thursday at Minnesota.

How does it feel to be back at practice?

Jon Leuer: It feels great. It's been a while. I've been working real hard with (Athletic Trainer) Henry (Perez-Guerra) and the training staff. It feels good to get back out there and mix it up with the guys. That's just the main thing I missed, the camaraderie with my teammates. It's just fun to get back out there.

You've been shooting for a couple of weeks?

Leuer: I've been shooting and have been able to workout for the past two or three weeks.

Has it been tough to adjust with that cast?

Leuer: A little bit, but in some ways it kind of helped. I got my left hand off the ball a little bit more. It wasn't too hard. The first week or so I couldn't really catch hard passes, but after two weeks, I've been able to work out just like a normal fall individual workout would be with the coaches. Coach Close has helped me out a lot by putting in some extra time with me so I have to thank him for that.

Final clearance came today or yesterday? Leuer: Today.

What was that like when you got word?

Leuer: It was definitely exciting. I've been waiting for that for a while. Now I'm just focused on helping this team and doing whatever I can to help us.

Do you mind taking us back to the day you got hurt and when you found out how bad it was? Did you think you were done for the year?

Leuer: Yeah, obviously when you get told you're going to be out for a little while, you have a lot of emotions going. We beat Purdue, but it was just move on to what's next. I knew I had to work with Henry and our medical staff. They did a great job. I can't even tell you how pleased I've been with what they've done. They got me back as soon as possible, but it was definitely tough to be told that. But like I said, the next day I was moving on and doing whatever I could to get it better.

Did you think you had broke it?

Leuer: I had never broken a bone in my body before so I really didn't know what to think. You have adrenaline going out there and you're able to block some of that stuff out, but at the time I really didn't know.

How tough was it to be sitting on the bench while your team was out there?

Leuer: It's tough to watch, but I was just doing whatever I could to support the guys. They've done a great job for the past couple of weeks. They've been fun to watch. We've had some guys step up and its fun to see some of the younger guys kind of grow and mature and step into more of a role for this team.

On that same account, how do you like how your team has responded without you in the lineup? It seems they've done pretty well.

Leuer: I had no concerns about that. I know that we have two pretty good senior leaders in Trevon and JBo. Those guys have stepped up and kind of led the way. I'm just excited to get back and play with them.

Do you think the transition with you coming back is going to be pretty seamless? Do you think there is going to be some … Leuer: Yeah, I don't see my role changing at all. I feel like my role, no matter what, is just doing whatever I can to help this team win. If anybody has a problem with that, they can tell me.

How close are you to being game ready?

Leuer: I feel like I'm game ready right now. I've been able to work out and run and condition. I feel like I'm in really good shape. Hopefully I can just, like I said, do whatever I can to help the team.

Are you planning on playing Thursday?

Leuer: Right now I'm just taking it day by day and seeing if there is any pain or how much I can tolerate. Today went well so we're just looking at tomorrow right now.

What's been the most difficult thing in this whole process while you've been out?

Leuer: Like I said, just not being out there with my teammates. You've been out there in games before and you know what it's like. It's a battle out there and to see them go through that and not be a part of that, that was definitely tough.

When you were cleared did you have any questions about what happens if somebody whacks me on that wrist?

Leuer: We've definitely covered that. That's one of the things. It's solid right now. Like I said, we had one of the best doctors working on it. If he tells me it's good to go I trust him.

So there's no hesitancy in the back of your mind about going in strong?

Leuer: No.

Is there going to be any type of different cast that you're going to wear? Are you going to wear a cast?

Leuer: I'll just tape it up like I was today and play. That's what we're doing.

Jon, did you have a target date in mind for when you'd return? Was it this game, being you're from Minnesota? Did you just want to get back as soon as possible?

Leuer: Yeah, that was my main goal. It was just a coincidence being from Minnesota and we're going to Minnesota. I'll have some family there and it will be nice to see them, but it really had no bearing on whether I was going to be back or not. The only thing that we were worried about was if I was going to be healthy. We didn't want to have any doubts going into it. We don't now.

You mentioned Coach Close. How has he helped you through this?

Leuer: A lot, just working extra on my shooting. After every practice for the past couple of weeks we've been getting together and doing some shooting. But the whole coaching staff has been giving me a lot of support. I can't thank them enough for what they've done. They've supported not only me, but also my family through all of this. It was tough. My parents love going to games and seeing me out there but they know the same thing. They were just supporting the team and the coaching staff. We got through it.

Has there been any specific rehab or work that you've had to go through to get the wrist stronger or anything like that?

Leuer: Yeah, I mean we've done some different things. Some range of motion stuff and some stuff with some weights. I'm really confident in it right now. I feel like I can do everything I could before.

Did you have any moments going through this of the 'Why me,' or 'Why does this have to happen to me,' or thinking about what this may have cost the team for this year?

Leuer: No. I knew our guys would pick it up. That was never really a concern. You can't look down on yourself when something like that happens. You've just got to take it as a learning experience and take it on as a challenge. Hopefully you can grow from it and get better.

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