Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

January 24, 2014

Kokomo's Persons set to return to hardwood

He has been sidelined with a knee injury since August.

When Kokomo senior Tayler Persons went down with a torn ACL during Week 2 of the 2013 football season, Wildkat faithful feared they would be robbed of watching one of the school’s best two-sport athletes finish the final chapter of his prep career.

But, Persons is set to return much faster than everyone thought possible — everyone except Persons and those close to him.

The Indiana Junior-All Star guard announced Thursday he is set to return to action just a little over four months after surgery, and will make his basketball season debut Saturday against Tipton at Memorial Gym.

“These last few months have been filled with a lot of hard work and believing in myself,” Persons said. “I’ve put in lot of hours in the gym and working with my therapist. To be able to come back just feels amazing.”

Persons tore the ACL in his left knee in a 39-13 loss at Fort Wayne Wayne on Aug. 30, the day before his 18th birthday. He went under the knife to repair the ligament on Sept. 17, and will be four months and eight days removed from surgery when he takes to the court for game action for the first time. It’s a surgery the average person takes between six and nine months to full recover from.

“I think it’s God blessing me with good genetics, because I know it’s really rare to come back this quick,” Persons said. “God blessed me with the will to work hard and the genetics to heal me. If you put your mind to something, you can always do it. An ACL injury is not the end of the world if you put your mind to getting back and work hard to do that.”

His immediate role on the court is not fully determined, but Persons and coach Brian McCauley both thanked surgeon Jeff Hartzell, physical therapist Rob Comer and the staff at Replay, as well as athletic trainer Brett Patterson for their vital roles in helping Persons get back up and running in such a short span.

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