Philip Jurick's return from Achilles injury boosts OSU
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
12/05/12 at 5:50 AM
STILLWATER - As a teammate put it, Oklahoma State center Philip Jurick is better now than before his Achilles injury.
"He's moving well," guard Markel Brown said. "He's scoring the ball, he's playing with patience and he's making great passes out of the post."
Early this season, Jurick has shown glimpses of his potential since tearing an Achilles tendon late last year.
"It was tough at first, not knowing how I was going to feel," Jurick said. "But now getting out there and getting some game experience behind me is making me feel a lot better than just going to practice each day and not knowing if I'll be able to play."
In his first season in Stillwater after transferring from Chattanooga State, Jurick started 16 games and was the team's leading rebounder eight times before the injury March 3 against Kansas State.
While rehabbing from injury in the offseason, Jurick shed 30 pounds. As a result of sacrifice - no late-night runs to Taco Bell - he's down to 260.
"I didn't notice I was getting that big until I tore my Achilles," he said. "I think I was up to 290 when I got hurt, and I've never been that big before."
Getting rid of the extra pounds has helped Jurick become faster and more agile. And at 6 feet, 11 inches, he still contributes considerable size to the post position, where the Cowboys lack depth.
"He brings us that space-eater inside," coach Travis Ford said. "He takes up so much space in there and now he's moving around a little bit better, which enables him to go get rebounds out of his area."
While about 70 percent recovered, Jurick has been able to average 2.8 points and 5.5 rebounds six games into his senior year.
"I think I'll be a lot better than just rebounding and blocking shots now," he said. "It's kind of weird because my leg will get tired before I get tired.
"I have to use my body, and not being able to jump is probably the hardest."
Jurick had a minor setback in practice a week ago, when he was inadvertently elbowed in the mouth by point guard Marcus Smart.
A bloody mess and 12 stitches later, Jurick was left with a brutal headache that caused him to sit out the rest of the week in advance of Saturday's loss at Virginia Tech.
Jurick should be fully recovered from that ordeal as OSU hosts South Florida on Wednesday night, the first of six consecutive home games.
"I never had any idea (Jurick) would be able to contribute as much as he is right now or as much as we need him to," Ford said. "... It borders on a miracle.
"For an injury like he sustained to be out there going as fast as he is, it's amazing."
South Florida at No. 22 Oklahoma State
8 p.m. Wednesday
Radio: KFAQ am1170
South Florida (5-2)
*assists per game
Original Print Headline: Jurick's return boosts OSU
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452