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Playing through Injury

I watched former Kentucky player Derrick Jasper play as a freshman and thought he was a great player. I wondered how I had never heard of a kid that talented from California. However, as a sophomore, he was much less impressive. This article explains why:

On one of his first days in a UNLV practice uniform, the Kentucky transfer and former Paso Robles High star lifted his shorts to reveal his legs to Rebels strength and conditioning guru Jason Kabo and trainer Dave Tomchek.

“Just visually, the difference between the two legs, it was pretty dramatic,” Kabo said. “The left leg being his jumping leg and his injured leg, it’s just something you really don’t want someone to play on. There’s not a lot of stability at that point if there’s not a lot of strength or muscle mass, period.”

His right leg, a strong, muscle-bound limb, represented everything he was supposed to be as a basketball player — a 6-foot-6 hybrid point guard who could flex to play four different positions.

But that left leg represented something else. Tomchek said it was at 10 to 15 percent of its full strength.

He had microfracture surgery before his sophomore season, and judging by the article, he never returned to full strength before resuming his playing career. Fortunately, after transferring to UNLV, he has to sit out a season, which is probably the best thing he could do for his future career.

Kabo said the key for Jasper has been rehabbing with more single-leg movements than anything, which allows him to focus on strengthening the bad leg while not neglecting the good one. That keeps him from compensating for the weaker of the two.

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