By Ari WassermanBuckeyeSports.com
Aaron Craft has played with a bone chip floating in his left ankle since high school, but playing through pain the last few years still wasnt enough for Ohio States junior point guard to be willing to have a surgical procedure to fix it.
Though Craft initially resisted the thought of having surgery because it would restrict his ability to work out this summer with his teammates, he finally came around to getting the problem resolved and had a procedure done on June 18.
It didnt bother me a ton, Craft said. I didn't really feel like (surgery) was extremely necessary, but as the spring went on it just felt weak and the doctors really pushed for it. It was the best thing to do and we had time to do it, so I decided to get it done.
Though Craft averaged 10.4 points, 5.2 assists and 3.2 steals in five NCAA Tournament games while helping lead the Buckeyes to the Final Four, head coach Thad Matta mentioned before the Big Ten tournament that the point guard was dealing with an ankle injury that sometimes yielded extreme pain.
Craft was initially restricted to a cast and crutches in the time since having the surgery, but he had the cast removed on Tuesday. While in attendance for the 2012 Ohio Homecoming Battle For Ohio charity basketball game on Saturday, Craft was walking around under his own power.
I am just trying to be patient enough and do everything I can and not take it too fast, Craft said. It will be good once we get done with it, but I just don't want to rush back and be out longer than I need to be.
Craft has continued to work on his upper body this summer while remaining around team activities, but he has been unable to participate in summer scrimmaging or workouts involving his leg. The point guard hopes to be able to return in the coming weeks, but he isnt sure of an exact date for when hell be cleared.
There isnt a big timetable yet, Craft said. I am going to see where I am at on Monday. I got the cast off on Tuesday. (Everything) all depends on how things go. I am going to start jogging soon and see how it starts feeling. It doesn't hurt a ton it just feels uncomfortable. My muscle is smaller, so were just trying to get everything back to how it was supposed to be.
The sophomore point guard was hoping hed get to build his game to a new level this summer. However, Craft hopes to continue helping the team grow from a leadership standpoint.
Just being aggressive and trying to get everyone on the team on the same page, Craft responded when asked what he hoped to work on this summer. We have a lot of young guys and just to be that leader out there playing, but I can do the same thing on the sideline. Just seeing them play and having the perspective as a coach is just as helpful as being out there. There is some positive to it and hopefully well get through it unscathed.
Craft hasnt been happy with his physical restrictions, but he ultimately understood the surgery was necessary so he could return to playing basketball at a high level without pain. Despite the nuisance of missing summer workouts, Craft has remained positive throughout the recovery process.
It is frustrating, Craft said. It is the first time I have really ever had to deal (with injury). I just miss being out there with all the guys and all the teammates, but I am just trying to understand that when the season comes ill be ready and hopefully Ill be better than where I was last year.