Jack Gibbs continues to work his way back from a knee injury.
The senior point guard for the Westerville North High School boys basketball team felt pain as the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee snapped on Dec. 16 during a game against Dublin Scioto. On Jan. 11, he underwent surgery to repair the knee. Then came the hardest part: making the transition back into everyday life.
"Some of the things that you are used to doing -- like just walking -- were tough," Gibbs said. "There are like five steps from my bedroom to the bathroom and it would take me about five minutes just to get there."
But Gibbs continued to take those steps, rehabbing his knee through physical therapy and returning to the court for moderate workouts.
"I go to Ohio State for physical therapy twice a week," he said. "I run like a mile and a half on the treadmill trying to get my endurance back. I have been working on my cutting and my strength, and by the end of the month, I should be full-go."
Warriors coach Kevin Thuman has seen Gibbs in action at open gyms and is impressed with his progress.
"Jack's been working a lot on shooting and going through physical therapy," he said. "He's been at open gym, but that's not really competitive basketball.
"He shows flashes of the Jack we all know. Going up and down (the court), he's pretty good, but he's still a little tender going side to side. He's probably where he should be or maybe even ahead of schedule. He probably will be 100 percent by open gyms this fall."
Gibbs usually plays a full slate of AAU games during the summer, but he wasn't able to do so this year. However, he has attended several events with his AAU squad, King James, which Gibbs said is sponsored by LeBron James. The team played in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL), which ran from April 20 through July 22, and competed in tournaments in Minnesota, Virginia, Texas and California.
"I have been playing in open gyms and that has felt good, but sometimes I think about cutting too much," Gibbs said. "The mental thing of cutting hasn't been crisp. One of the toughest things is getting my mind ready."
Gibbs emerged as one of the top point guards in central Ohio during his sophomore season. That season, which was his first as a starter, he led North in scoring (18.1 points per game), assists (4.5) and steals (3.7) and was named second-team all-district in Division I and first-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division.
His junior season was limited to four games. He averaged 16.7 points through three games before injuring his knee in the opening minutes of the fourth contest.
"I was little apprehensive (about the surgery) because the worst thing I had (happen medically) before that was getting stitches a couple of times," Gibbs said. "It was a strange experience. I just wanted to get it over with and get on with the road ahead."
The road ahead looks bright for Gibbs, as modern surgical procedures and physical therapy help athletes who suffer an ACL injury to resume their athletic careers, often with their knee being stronger than it was before the injury.
Nonetheless, Gibbs said his injury has provided him with a life lesson.
"I have found out that I can never take anything for granted," he said. "You have to play every game like it's your last.
"I didn't go into the season thinking that I would be injured, but it happened. I hadn't gone two weeks without playing basketball for as long as I could remember, but now I have gone 10 months without playing the game. That makes me appreciate it that much more."