From Pepperdine athletics comes a Q-and-A with former De La Salle guard Amadi Udenyi:
MEN'S BASKETBALL Q&A: AMADI UDENYI
October 27, 2015
Near the end of last season, junior guard Amadi Udenyi ruptured his Achilles tendon and was out the last seven games. The previous season, he tore his meniscus and missed a third of his freshman year. While many players would get discouraged by this series of major injuries, Udenyi remained determined to get better so he could rejoin his team as fast as possible. After surprising everyone by being cleared earlier this month, he talked about what his recovery process was like, how it feels to be back on the court and his anticipation for the coming season.
Q: What was your reaction when the Achilles' injury first occurred?
A: I was in disbelief because my freshman year at the beginning of the season I tore my meniscus, which put me out for 10 games. This was another big injury and I couldn't believe that it happened again. But after that I changed my mindset and just tried to get my team focused on finishing the season strong. I got a chance to look at things from a coach's perspective. I could see what they wanted us to do and then helped translate the message to my teammates. Sometimes kids don't want to listen to their coaches, so coming from another player it can be easier for them to understand.
Q: How long did the doctor say your recovery would be?
A: They said six to nine months.
Q: Did you have to get surgery?
A: Yes, I did. If I didn't have surgery it would have taken a full year to recover.
Q: After surgery, what was the rehabilitation process like?
A: Pretty much for the first month it was just getting rest because I had to let the stitches and everything heal. I had the boot on for a month and a half, so once I got it off I was told to walk around campus just to get used to walking again. Our campus is actually great for rehabilitation because of all the hills and stairs. I had to walk to class and never take the shuttle. After that, I had to work on strengthening my calves because I lost pretty much all of my muscle.
Q: How long did it take before you felt comfortable being back out on the court?
A: I'd say about five months before I felt comfortable jogging up and down the court. Mid-August to early September is when I started doing basketball drills again. I was cleared to play in early October.
Q: Were people surprised by how quickly you were able to resume playing?
A: Yes, they definitely were surprised. My coaches didn't actually expect me to be back until January or so. When it first happened, my mom told my coach, "He's a fast healer; he'll probably be back in September." And I was back playing in September and cleared soon after. My coaches were very surprised.
Q: How have the coaches handled bringing you back into the game?
A: Even now that I'm cleared, they are still easing me into everything. During practice I'll probably do three out of the five reps.
Q: How does it feel to be back out there with your teammates?
A: I'm so happy. It's hard hearing you'll be out six to nine months and can't play basketball for that long. Knowing how big of a year this one was, I wanted to get back as soon as possible because I knew how good we could be. And now that I'm back on the court I'm ecstatic to get the season started.
Q: What are your expectations for this year?
A: For myself, I don't want to have any drop-offs. I don't want this injury to affect how productive I am. I want to continue to develop and improve as I would if I hadn't gotten this injury. My expectations include continuing to be a leader on the team and helping us get victories. Our team goal is to win the WCC this year. We are projected third, but ever since my freshman year we have always finished ahead of what we were expected to.