Arizona State point guard Dymond Simon is back on the floor with the Sun Devils after missing the 2009-2010 season. She is back for her senior season and to help return ASU to the NCAA Tournament. Simon talked with LCH on Monday on the verge of the start of the season.
Q: Where are you in your recovery process?
A: I was cleared fully last Monday. I’ve been doing everything with the team for a week and a half now and it’s pretty exciting. I’m feeling really good right now, getting used to being back, getting some chemistry with my teammates.
Q: What are the kind of things you need to “get used to”?
A: Being patient. Not rushing a lot of things, especially on offense, especially coming back from injuries like this. You’re in shock a little bit. The game is a lot faster than what I’ve been used to last year and a half. Those first couple of practices it goes fast, but thing are going well. But i haven’t lost a step. I’m just taking my time. I’m moving into things slowly, but my coaches and my teammates understand.
Q: How has the last year and half been for you?
A: I definitely had some ups and down. Last year didn’t go so well for our team. We are all taking it upon ourselves, we’ve worked hard over the summer, and we are determined to make this year very special. My knee hasn’t been perfect the entire year. But I’ve tried to be positive throughout this whole transition. It’s been a blessing in disguise. I’ve matured as a basketball player and a person and I think the extra year will prepare me for what’s ahead.
Q: What is the state of the team you’ve come back to?
A: It is definitely a young team. But a lot of these players have a year under their belts and I’m excited to be able to play with them and help them see what college basketball is all about. They are hungry and they have great work ethic on the court and I’m happy to be back out there.
Q: How difficult is it to come back into the mix after being gone for more than a year?
A: It’s no. I’m thankful for my coaches, who have been great about telling me to focus on one thing at a time. They’ve told me ‘Dont worry about past injuries. Focus on how well you are doing now’. It’s helped me to stay in the moment. I’m making myself more present.
Q: Have you tapped into any of the other players who have experienced multiple ACL injuries? What have they taught you?
A: I’ve definitely learned from this experience. I have known Jacki since high school and she’s definitely a person I look up to. She’s had more ACL problems than I have. She’s this amazing person. But from me, I’ve had so much help around me here, that I didn’t have to rely on other people. I have my coaches and my performance coach and they all have kept me in a positive state.
Q: What’s the thing most people don’t understand about being injured and the recovery?
A: It’s that people don’t feel what I feel. Especially, the doctors and the trainers. No matter how bad I went to get out there and start earlier than I should, they tell me that it’s not time. And I get so frustrated and so mad. There have been times when I thought that I just want to shut it down, that ‘Man, it’s not even worth it.’ But I’ve picked my spirits back up because I love the sport. People don’t understand all the transitions you make, from being injured to getting out of surgery, to going into rehab and maintaining your rehab. It’s alot.
Q: How close were to you “shutting it down” as you put it?
A: There was definitely a time (last May). But I made a conscious decision to keep moving forward. I was getting hit at so many different angles. My knee wasn’t where I wanted it to be, I was arguing with my trainers and docs and it got to me. I didn’t really want to play. The coaches saw that. I’m a gym rat and I’m used to being in there all the time and I wasn’t able to be in there. They were questioning me about what was wrong. It took me about four weeks to snap out of it. I was putting way too much pressure on myself and once I realized that, my knee started to come to.
At the time, I was still in rehab and I hadn’t been cleared and I was forcing the issue when I shouldn’t have. But honestly, I’m happy that it happened at that point and I’m much better now.
Q: How difficult was it from your vantage point to watch the team struggle last year?
A: It was the hardest year ever. I could definitely see it in Coach (Charli Turner Thorne’s) eyes. She was so frustrated and so disappointed and she couldn’t show it to the team. In my eyes, she’s one of the strongest people I know so, I’m proud of her for maintaining her composure. I was just sitting there and watching and I felt like ‘Wow, I feel so bad for her and for the team.’ And it sucked because I couldn’t do anything about it.
Q: What words would you use to describe the team as you get closer to the start of practice?
A: Hungry. These girls, they are amazing. They will do whatever it takes to win. We talk every day, that we don’t want this to go like last year. And as a captain, I won’t allow it. We are working every day, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.