A month after finishing a rather successful freshman campaign, Steve Taylor went under the knife for an elective surgery to remove a benign growth on his right knee and was given a timetable of three to four months for his recovery time.
Almost three months to the day later, Steve Taylor still isn’t back to full strength due to an atrophy of his right quadricep muscle, but he believes he is almost there.
“I’ve been working with Ernest Eugene,” Taylor told Paint Touches. “I’ve been doing a lot of single leg stuff trying to get my strength in my quad back because when they did the procedure, I lost the muscles in my leg. So I’ve been doing things to strengthen that.”
Coach Buzz Williams caused concern on June 26 at the Marquette BBQ event when he revealed Taylor had fallen behind on his rehab due to the loss of muscle post surgery.
At that time, we spoke to Taylor and he estimated that he’d be back on the floor in about a month, but that has not come to pass.
“I’m getting there,” Taylor said on Thursday. “I actually played in open gyms twice. I wasn’t supposed to, but I did anyways just to see how it feels and how it would work.”
Unfortunately, he did experience discomfort afterwards and he has been unable to participate in the Milwaukee Pro-Am, scrimmages and other full contact drills.
He has been participating in individual workouts, though, and has also been maintaining his upper body strength.
“I’ve been lifting with the team (on upper body) every time we lift,” the Chicago native said. “I’ve been doing some lower body work like squats and stuff like that, but I don’t squat as heavy as the team.”
For now, Taylor will continue his rehab process in hopes of being back to full strength by the time Marquette begins its school year, within the 3-4 month time frame given back in May.
“I’m hoping to be back to full strength when we come back to school on August 25th,” he said. “Hopefully I’m cleared to do full practices by then.”
Taylor’s summer spent rehabbing mirrors teammate Juan Anderson’s from last year. Anderson had shoulder surgery in April and had to play catch-up come September. Despite limited practice time, he was able to increase his role with the team becoming a starter and playing just under nine more minutes per game. His 2.7 points per game weren’t overwhelming but did show a marked improvement from his freshman season.
Taylor, though, surpassed Anderson’s rookie year and received double-digit minutes in four of the final five regular season games. He appeared in all 35 games as a freshman and averaged 3.0 points and 2.1 rebounds in 8.6 minutes.
From our player breakdown in April:
Taylor’s offensive rebounding wasn’t just good, or even great, it was elite. Had he played enough possessions, his 15.5 O-rebounding percentage would have been the 15th best in the country, topping Davante Gardner’s own prodigious rate by three full percentage points. Logic says his numbers will fall a bit with more minutes, but he has an uncanny ability to track down loose balls on the offensive end.
Having to use this summer to get back to where he was as opposed to building on what he had may hurt his development a tad this season, but shouldn’t hold him back too much in the long run as his talent is evident. Even Buzz kept saying he needed to play Steve more toward the end of the year.
For now it is simply about getting healthy in time to prepare for the 2013-14 season.