The only thing that has prevented CJ Fredrick from putting up even better numbers during his college career has nothing to do with his on-court skill set.
The Iowa transfer dealt with plantar fasciitis for a good chunk of his sophomore year with the Hawkeyes in 2020-21. It’s an injury that’s especially tough to play through and one that can bog down even the world’s top athletes for weeks or even months at a time. Tissues in the heel of the foot are inflamed, resulting in a constant sting of pain.
Most recently, NBA players such as Goran Dragic (Miami Heat) and Jeff Green (Brooklyn Nets) have been forced to miss extended time during playoff runs with this injury. Unfortunately, it’s not something that has a quick fix–the best medicine is lots and lots of rest.
Over the final three months of Fredrick’s second season with Iowa, he was in and out of games due to the plantar fasciitis issue. According to Iowa’s team site, he “missed four full games and three second halves of other contests,” after Jan. 17. It hindered his impact greatly and prevented him from making the type of impact he would have liked during the Hawkeyes’ NCAA Tournament run that was ultimately cut short. During his freshman season, Fredrick sat out “six full games and two second halves due to different injuries.”
But despite that, Fredrick usually found a way to play through the pain. During his first two seasons of action at Iowa, he still managed to shoot a mind-numbing 46.6 percent from beyond the arc across 52 games while also settling in as an invaluable defender. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t tough to navigate, though, particularly when it came to dealing with the mental aspect of rehabbing such an annoying injury.
“I had a really tough injury this past year,” Fredrick said during his media availability on Saturday. “It was just something really naggy. I had plantar fasciitis in my left foot and it mentally and physically took a lot out of me. Waking up in the morning trying to take a step and I’m kinda collapsing. That’s tough. I’m trying to practice then play. It took a lot out of me mentally. Just being in the training room all day.”
Heading into his first summer as a Kentucky Wildcat, Fredrick is finally getting back to full health. In fact, he told the media that this past week was the first time he’d been able to do some real training since the regular season ended.
“After the season I was able to rest about a month, month and a half,” Fredrick said. “Because the only thing you can really do is rest for that injury. So I’m just starting to get back. This week was my first week of actually running and doing some stuff. So I feel great.”
It should also help that COVID-19 restrictions are steadily being lifted, allowing Fredrick to recover around his new teammates and coaches instead of locked away by himself. With a full–and hopefully normal–summer on the horizon, he should be ready to roll by the fall.