When Dabo Swinney saw Justyn Ross after he came out of spinal surgery at a Pittsburgh, Pa., area hospital, he knew his star wide receiver had a long way to go.
That was in early June. Now, four months later, Ross is wearing a helmet and is dressed in full pads, while running routes and catching passes.
“It has just been amazing to watch,” Clemson’s head coach said to Mark Packer on his Off-Campus Show on ESPNU Radio Thursday. “From where he was, laying in that bed after surgery, to where he is now, I just can’t believe it when I’m watching him.”
Ross experienced stinger-like symptoms and numbness after catching a pass and being hit during a spring practice. He was slow to get up and ended up missing the remaining few practices of the spring.
After undergoing an X-ray last spring that looked at his back and spine following an injury in March, Ross learned he had a congenital fusion, which was something he was born with. The doctors also discovered a bulging disk, which only aggravated the situation.
Clemson’s top returning receiver from 2019, had surgery in June, as one of the country’s top neurosurgeons, Dr. David Okonkwo, the neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers, performed the procedure.
“Just yesterday, just watching him, he ran a double move, and just watching how he cuts and changes direction, and to know where he was back in June and to see where he is now, I am just blown away,” Swinney said. “It is a credit to the doctors, their knowledge, the research, all the things with technology that has given him this opportunity.
“Hopefully, he will continue to progress like he has. He is way ahead of where the doctor was hoping he would be. But he has a big meeting in December. He will have to go back up to Pittsburgh and that will be a big one for him.”
Swinney said last week, they do not expect to see Ross catching any passes in 2020, at least that is the way he has interpreted the situation. Though Ross is wearing a helmet and full pads in practice, he is not participating in any tackling drills.
“It is just so encouraging to see him where he is right now,” the Clemson coach said. “He has a big smile on his face. He feels great. He is having fun. He has a lot of hope. So, we are all keeping our fingers crossed a praying that the good Lord will give us some good news in December and he can get cleared to get back to doing what he loves to do.”
Clemson will host Syracuse on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.
A great gift for any Tiger fan. Just one of many great items available from Clemson Variety & Frame