While the news of Melvin Ejim’s hyperextended knee shook the Cyclone fan base, his prognosis remains good and the senior eyes an early return. Whether the preseason All-Big 12 selection is able to get back in advance of the four-six weeks expected remains to be seen and will be decided by the doctors and athletic trainer Vic Miller.
The one thing that is known is that, thanks to the wonders of technology, Ejim’s cardiovascular training won’t suffer during his absence and whenever he is able to pull on that No. 3 jersey again he’ll be ready to go.
That is where the top-of-the-line rehab and training equipment that Iowa State uses to service its student-athletes comes into play.
In his 12th year at Iowa State as men’s basketball athletic trainer Miller has seen the benefits of technological improvements and is using them to help in Ejim’s recovery.
“There are a number of things we are doing to help in his recovery,” Miller said. “First, we are controlling the pain and trying to get the swelling out of the knee.”
In addition to getting the knee back to where it was pre-injury, Miller and his staff are tasked with keeping Ejim in some kind of playing condition, despite the limited exercises he can do. They use the equipment at the Bergstrom Football Complex to its fullest capability.
“From a rehab standpoint, what we do is we take him over to the HydroWorx tub, which is over at the football facility,” Miller said. “That gives us water, aquatic therapy. Water does three things for us. Number one, the pressure of the water on you will also work to pump out the swelling. Number two, it gives us buoyancy. That allows Melvin to bear a lot less weight in a standing position depending on how deep he is. If you bear less weight that allows you to run and jog at a much earlier date than you can on dry land. The last thing it does is it gives us resistance, which allows us to build strength.”
If you aren’t familiar with the HydroWorx tub, it is essentially an underwater treadmill. According to Miller it is about seven feet by nine feet and it contains jets that provide the resistance.
Ejim is still able to lift weights with the team in a modified program. He spends about an hour every morning doing dry-based rehab at the Sukup Basketball Complex and then an hour in the afternoon doing aquatic therapy. That’s seven days a week that Ejim is spending getting his knee back in working order and staying in cardiovascular shape so that when he returns he’s ready to run in the high-octane Fred Hoiberg offense.
As he gets closer to returning, Ejim will include himself more in the opponent scout. But for now it is all about getting that knee right.
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