Whether or not the Penn State men's basketball team notches a win against Big Ten competition this season, at least some progress is being made.
As much can be said for the injured 22-year old star point guard that almost certainly would have changed the complexion of this season.
In an update Tuesday afternoon with Jon Salazer, the Nittany Lions' Associate Director of Athletic Training Services, the outlook for injured star point guard Tim Frazier is bright as his rehabilitation continues into its 12th week after surgery to fix his ruptured Achilles tendon in November.
"He's doing great," Salazer said, explaining that Frazier has started using the elliptical machine, and will begin 'Ultra G' training in two weeks. "Basically, it's a treadmill that unloads the individual. So, we'll start at fifty percent of his body weight on the Ultra G and then from weeks fourteen through eighteen, we'll eventually get him to full weight bearing. So, over a four week time period, we'll gradually increase his weight bearing over that."
Though he has remained an active part of the team, improving his vocal leadership and coaching skills along the way, as the Nittany Lions have struggled to an 0-11 start in the conference, Frazier has struggled to watch.
"It's tough. Having to sit out and not being able to play the game that you love, that you've been playing your whole life, having it taken away from you for this period of time is tough," Frazier said recently. "Then, being able to sit there on the bench and being able to watch the guys you battled with all summer and all spring to prepare for the season and just not be able to contribute with them.
"It's tough, but I've been staying positive when it comes to everything. Obviously, my rehab has been going well, my Achilles is looking great, I'm doing stuff two or three times a day, six or seven days a week. My progression is going well, so I can't complain. I've been taught and raised to believe that everything happens for a reason and, I've gone far with that."
In the meantime, as an avenue for releasing pent up aggression at not being able to play, Frazier has added 15 pounds in the weight room. All the way up to 175 pounds, due to an overwhelming amount of work on his upper body, Frazier remains focused on getting better any way he can.
"I lost a bunch of weight when I got hurt, so I'm at 175 right now and I'm going to keep eating," he said. "I've gotten stronger up top, tremendously, just lifting. That's all I can really do, so I've been lifting three to four times a week, just all upper body. Every time we go on the road I lift. Every other day, basically.
"I feel great. I told (strength trainer) Brad (Pantall) every day, 'Thank you. I don't know what happened.' I feel strong… My body feels strong. When I come back, I can be able to take those hits that would knock me on the ground before."
As for when that actual return could be, Salazer explained that Frazier will be able to participate in everything within six to eight months.
However, due to the nature of the injury, Frazier's trademark explosion and "hops" will be the last elements to return.
"The explosion will be the last. He'll be able to do everything, but he just won't have his hops yet back, per se, or his quick acceleration," Salazer said. "That will come, and I have to continually remind him that, although he may be doing everything, he's not going to be the Tim Frazier of old. It can take a while until he's really back to his old self. But, he will be there. It's just going to take some time.
"It could take up to a year until he's at full speed, at Tim Frazier full speed. He may be eighty-five, ninety percent, but sometimes just that extra little bit that gets that breakaway speed, could take up to a year, or longer."