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Iowa freshman making progress in recovery

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IOWA CITY – Josh Dix hasn’t attempted his first shot or dropped into a defensive stance yet for the Iowa basketball team, but the freshman has already been tested.

The 6-foot-5 wing from Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln said Tuesday his patience has been tested as he continues to make steady progress while working his way back from surgery to repair a broken tibia and fibula in his right leg.

“It’s been tough, something I had never experienced before, but like coach (Fran) McCaffery keeps telling me, the first game isn’t until November,’’ Dix said. “Just be patient, keep working.’’

Still he was tested.

“Mentally as much as physically,’’ Dix said. “It was hard having the game taken away from me, especially at first when I couldn’t play at all. I had put a lot of work in to my senior year and to have end the way it did, that was tough.’’

He said the setback that prematurely ended his senior season of high school competition has made him appreciate the opportunity he now works to begin with the Hawkeyes.

“I’m grateful that coach McCaffery trusts my work ethic,’’ Dix said. “I’ll be back. I know that.’’

Dix has hopes of being cleared for full workouts by Sept. 1, well before the start of practice and long before the first opening tip of the Hawkeye season on Nov. 7.

“I’m looking forward to everything being normal again,’’ Dix said. “I’m getting there, taking one step forward at a time.’’

Dix had to stay away from the game and be off the leg for two months following surgery.

Rehabilitation work followed and since arriving on campus on June 12 his involvement in team activities has been concentrated on learning as much as he can off the court.

On the court, he spent the first month working with trainers to rehabilitate and strengthen the leg he injured during a fall after he went up to block a shot in the final minutes of a February game at LeMars.

Wanting to avoid any potential setbacks, Dix said he concentrated on making slow, but steady progress.

“Like with my ankle movement, I had a band I would put on and work it back and forth. They wanted to make sure all my ankle movement was there,’’ Dix said.

“Then knee movement, same thing, and all that stuff. Even when I had the boot on, I would take it off and then it gradually moved into walking like normal. Then, jogging and then squats, all the stuff like that.’’

Much of that work took place on an adjacent court to where his teammates were training putting in their summer work.

“That’s been hard, watching them get up and down and get after it while I’ve been over on the other court doing one of my workouts to get back,’’ Dix said. “It will all work out in the end. I know that, but it hasn’t been easy.’’

Dix was cleared last week to begin participating in some skill drills with his teammates.

He has not yet been cleared for contact.

“I know it’s going to be more physical, a lot different from high school, so I anxious to get to that point and get that started,’’ Dix said.

Dix sees certain parts of his mobility progressing faster than others.

“Some stuff, it’s just taking a little longer which is normal,’’ Dix said. “My jumping ability, I’m probably 75, 80 percent where I would normally be but running, I’m closer to 90 percent of where I’ve been at. I’m anxious to get back to normal, but I can’t rush it.’’

McCaffery anticipates Dix meeting his target date of cleared for full workouts around Sept. 1.

“I expect him to be ready to go by then,’’ McCaffery said. “He’s a good player who is going to help us.’’

Dix plans to contribute during the upcoming season.

“I’m going to be ready to give the team what I can. I can guard guys at the one through the three (positions), I can shoot, dribble, play the one through the four on offense,’’ Dix said. “I’ll be ready to help wherever I’m needed.’’

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