The Wright way to Rehab

He stands calmly in the midcourt circle while the Patriots warm up before the game. He gets excited when the green and gold do well, jumping and shouting from the bench. And during this season, he has been seen more in green warmups than in a basketball uniform. But sophomore guard Sherrod Wright is a part of the team and has his best years ahead of him.




When he came to Fairfax in the fall of 2010, ranked him as the thirty-fifth-best shooting guard in the nation. ESPN ranked him at number 32. Hopes were high to say the least when Wright chose to become a Patriot instead of heading down to Central Florida, Kansas State or South Carolina. 


When the team took to Italy, Head Coach Jim Larranaga posted on the blog that Wright would not play in the first of a four-game stretch due to a shoulder injury. He would not be able to participate in any of the games, just dance-offs.


So what happened? It seems the staff did not know the extent of the injury.

“Coach Konkol and I decided to challenge Sherrod Wright to a game of 7 and you know who won that game,” said Coach Huger on the same blog four days later. “Not Sherrod.”

As is turned out, Wright tore his labrum, but had to wait until he saw an orthopedic surgeon to get specific questions answered on the severity of the injury and recovery time.

In effect, the labrum is a ring of cartilage similar to a washer that holds the upper arm in the shoulder without falling out of place. An injury to that cartilage can affect overhead movement; shooting a basketball and playing full contact on the court will not allow the injury to heal. When surgery is needed, there is a minimum of six months recovery time.

When the team heard of the injury, they gave him surgery, in effect guaranteeing Wright a medical redshirt for his sophomore season. On Sept. 30, the team’s physician, Dr. Frank Pettrone, gave him arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage. 

During his freshman season he averaged 5.5 points per game in just over 16 minutes. He even scored 24 points against VMI last season to be named the conference’s Rookie of the Week. Expectations were high for his sophomore season, providing support to senior guards Cam Long and Isaiah Tate as another tall guard that can drive to the basket. 

On opening night against Harvard, he was sidelined. Team officials kept his status quiet. Only halfway through the season was it assumed that he would be out for the year. 

“You want to be out there so bad,” Wright said. “The best thing I can do is cheer for my teammates and be there for them. I’m like one of their best friends.”


He took the time that he could not spend in the weight room to drastically improve his cardiovascular endurance. In fact, the blog ran a video story on his experience. 

“[I have been] working on my game to see how I can help my teammates for next year,” Wright said. “I’ve basically been working on all the flaws of my game.” 

The team picked up freshman forward Thomas Armistead, a non-student-athlete already on campus, to become a part of the team and work with Wright.

“Thomas? He’s good,” Wright said after the VCU loss. “He helps me with everything. Right now I can’t have any full contact, but I can start with light contact with Thomas.” 

He missed the Patriots’ 16-game winning streak. He could only watch his teammates fall to a lower-seeded VCU team in the CAA tournament semifinals. Now, he cannot participate in the NCAA tournament, whether the team does good or bad. 

“I know he definitely wants to be in there,” Armistead said. “He’s been working so hard all season. He’ll get his chance next year, but we could have used him a lot this year. He’s a really good player.” 

He participated in the hour-long shootaround on Thursday afternoon in Cleveland, the most action he has had in front of fans all year.

At least he will have three more seasons to take the team further. In three years, there will be a five-player senior class. With Wright, Vertrail Vaughns, Paris Bennett, Bryon Allen and Jon Arledge, all fairly consistent shooters, the Patriots have set themselves up for a future of success. 

“It’s going to be a great unit,” senior guard Isaiah Tate said. “There are going to have a lot of experience and they should be really successful.”

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