Sept. 7, 2011
SEATTLE -- The Husky Basketball team received good news on Wednesday when they found out that junior guard Abdul Gaddy has been cleared by doctors to return to action on the basketball court.
Gaddy met with team doctor Chris Wahl, head trainer Pat Jenkins and Head Coach Lorenzo Romar on Wednesday morning and received a clean bill of health.
"They pretty much told me it's like I have never gotten hurt now," a smiling Gaddy said, just nine months after suffering the injury.
"Just go play," the doctors told him.
And play he did. By noon on Wednesday, Gaddy was in a practice gym at Alaska Airlines Arena working out with former Husky and current Philadelphia 76er Spencer Hawes and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison.
Coach Romar was equally excited about the return of his talented point guard. "We're very excited for Abdul," he said. "He did a great job of listening and working with the trainers and doctors.
"Pat Jenkins did a fantastic job of working him and bringing him along at the right pace. We're ecstatic to have him back 100 percent."
It was about mid-June when Gaddy started to feel close to 100 percent, but it was not until today that he finally got the go ahead that he had been waiting for nine months to hear.
"We were going into today expecting to hear that I was going to have to gradually get back into action," said Gaddy. "But [Dr. Wahl] was like 'no, you're good.' Coach Romar even asked that if we had two-a-days would I be able to go in both and he was said yes and that I was good to go."
Gaddy tore the ACL in his left knee during practice on Jan. 4 ending what had started out as a promising sophomore season. When he went down with the injury, Gaddy was averaging 8.5 points, leading the Pac-10 Conference in assist to turnover ratio and building back his confidence after an up-and-down freshman season.
Thirteen games into the season that all came crashing down when he landed awkwardly in practice. The Tacoma, Wash. native spent the rest of the 2010-11 season on the Husky sideline, soaking up the view from a different perspective.
"It was the hardest thing ever, but it was also a blessing in disguise," said Gaddy, watched the Huskies fight their way to a 24-11 season and the third round of the NCAA Tournament. "I got to see the game and watch from the sidelines. I saw the game as a coach and I think it will make me better this year."
Gaddy spent the summer shooting and rehabbing - doing anything to show he was ready to return. He attended open gyms where he served as a surrogate coach to the newcomers and helped keep the pick-up games civilized. Through it all, he strongly fought the itch to get back onto the court. He no longer has to fight that urge though. Now he will just try to fit back in with his teammates.
"We have a lot of talent, probably one of the most athletic teams in the Pac-12, if not the country," said Gaddy. "We have really good guards and wings. We also have good bigs, but we have to keep them out of foul trouble -- that'll be the main thing. I really like the look of our team."
A look that just got that much better with the return of a hungrier -- and most importantly healthier -- Abdul Gaddy.