WVU Guard Josh Jenkins Fights Through Rehab - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Guard Josh Jenkins Fights Through Rehab

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MORGANTOWN -

While all of his teammates take the field for each practice of the fall season, Josh Jenkins stays inside, away from the action that he's been such a key part of since his freshman year.

The once-starting left guard is in the home stretch of his rehabilitation process to overcome a knee injury he suffered in the team's spring game back in April.

"I've come a long way since I've gotten hurt," says Jenkins. "Right now I'm at a stage where I am getting stronger and I have to get my bad knee stronger. I just have to keep rehabbing and doing the treatment."

Jenkins has a history of knee injuries, and this latest set back has been the most grueling to overcome. He has an unstable patella after tearing the connective tissue that holds it in place and the injury is such that he required surgery and a six-month rehab.

Jenkins is in month four, and it has taken every bit of his strength mentality to stay focused on overcoming this physical issue.

"Initially his reaction was why me and why again," says WVU athletic trainer Dave Kerns. "Over time, time heals all wounds, it healed [him] mentally as well and he's doing really well."

Much of the credit for his positive outlook, according to Jenkins, comes from Kerns and his staff.

On any given day, he's in the training room doing various stretches and movements to regain the strength in his knee that he'll need to compete in his redshirt senior year.

The task is tedious, but necessary. Without Kerns and the rest of the athletic trainers to push him and provide support, his attitude may still be what it was as he was helped off the field that night just over six months ago.

"I have a picture when I was hurt and I am standing in the middle of the field and I wrote on it things get better, adversity. Things get better," says Jenkins. "Later on I realized I just have to stay positive and grind and I do have next year and that's a positive thing."

Kerns will give Jenkins goals he can reasonably expect to attain and make sure he does just that. The knowledge that progress is being made is perhaps the most vital part of any rehabilitation process. If the injured player doesn't see results, motivation will fade quickly.

Another source of motivation comes in the form of watching his teammates practice. Jenkins has essentially turned into a player-coach since he's been sidelined and has taken a player like Jeff Braun – who plays in Jenkins' spot this season – and tried to help him improve his game.

At the same time, he's learning from observation in a way he couldn't if he were the one going through the motions.

"I've learned from watching Coach [Bill] Bedenbaugh explain to the other offensive linemen and what they are doing wrong," says Jenkins. "So I know I am going to be ready when I come back, but in a sense I know what I have to do when I come back."

Aside from the mental aspect of all this, Jenkins also needs to maintain his strength and conditioning. That's where strength coach Mike Joseph and staff come in.

Jenkins says Joseph knows how to push him until he's at the point where he can't be pushed anymore. The hours they put into weight room workouts have progressively become more intense, ensuring that Jenkins will have his strength when he's ready to return to the field.

Right now, he's just begun straight-ahead sprints along the sidelines during practice. Over the next month, he'll begin quick change lateral motions. Then he'll start to focus on making offensive linemen moves.

As the finish line approaches, it's even more important that Jenkins not look ahead, but focus on what it is he still has left to accomplish to cross that line successfully.

"It gives me [the drive] to come back next year and appreciate football and the game itself and the people that are around here," he says. "Honestly, I was supposed to be a senior and if I didn't have a redshirt year, I wouldn't be back here. This is a lot of adversity with this injury so it doesn't just help me with football, it helps me with more than football. It just helps me with life."

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