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Posted at 11:54 PM ET, 12/ 5/2010

Sammy Zeglinski returns earlier than expected from knee injury

By Steve Yanda

Virginia junior guard Sammy Zeglinski logged 15 minutes during Virginia's 57-54 win Sunday at Virginia Tech, returning to game action earlier than expected after undergoing surgery Oct. 19 to repair cartilage damage in his left knee. Zeglinski participated fully in practice last week and was cleared to play no more than 20 minutes against the Hokies, Coach Tony Bennett said.

At the beginning of last week, Bennett had not planned to play Zeglinski at all at Virginia Tech. But after Zeglinski's knee responded well after practices on Wednesday and Thursday, the idea of him playing in a game more than a week earlier than originally expected became more viable.

Zeglinski, who recorded three assists, no turnovers and one steal Sunday, said he feels his knee is at "about 75 percent." He shot 0 for 3 from the field, including two missed three-point attempts. He was held scoreless in his season debut.

"My quickness, my first step isn’t there yet," Zeglinski said. "It felt pretty good in the first half. In the second half it was a little sore."

Zeglinski said that adrenaline keeps too much pain from surfacing while he's playing. It's after he takes a seat on the bench or has to endure the stillness of halftime that the irritation begins to peak.

"It's a little hard to get back going," he said.

Team trainers and doctors had told Zeglinski that he would be able to return to the court after six weeks. They did not expect him to be able to go from practicing for a week to immediately playing in a game. Competing at Virginia Tech had been Zeglinski's goal since the injury occured, even though nearly everyone else dismissed that as a possibility.

He said the key to his speedy recovery was remaining mentally focused throughout his rehab period. By staying engaged in practice in some form, the transition to physically competing in practice was less intense. Zeglinski said he expects to be at or near full strength by the time the Cavaliers face Oregon on Dec. 17.

Bennett remarked about a deft bounce pass that Zeglinski slipped to senior forward Mike Scott in the first half. The type of experience that Zeglinski possesses is without substitute, Bennett said, especially with a roster full of first-year players.

"He steadied us," Bennett said of Zeglinksi. "And in a good setting away from home that’s a great way to get your sea legs, I guess."

By Steve Yanda  | December 5, 2010; 11:54 PM ET
Categories:  Men's Basketball  
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