ARIZONA FOOTBALL

Recovery gets kick-start

Foles' return could be imminent, thanks to therapists in Texas
2010-10-27T00:00:00Z 2014-09-15T09:36:53Z Recovery gets kick-startRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 27, 2010 12:00 am  • 

North Star Manual Therapy sits just off Interstate 35 in Georgetown, Texas, next door to a Midas.

It's a four-person operation, with two physical therapists and two office assistants. Patients are seen one at a time, for one-hour sessions.

Last week, it was Nick Foles' best hope for a quick recovery.

"I went in on crutches and a splint," he said, "and I came out jogging."

The Arizona Wildcats' quarterback returned to practice Monday, just nine days after dislocating his right kneecap in a win over Washington State. He flung passes to shocked teammates and jogged, declaring himself "way ahead of schedule."

Foles said a three-day series of deep-tissue massages at North Star allowed his knee to recover quicker than expected.

He could play against UCLA on Saturday, though coach Mike Stoops is expected to wait until game time to make a decision.

Here's everything you ever wanted to know about Foles' injury, rehabilitation and recovery:

• The injury: Foles was injured with 14 minutes and 1 second remaining before halftime in the UA's Oct. 16 win over Washington State. The Wildcats' quarterback had just released a pass when Cougars defensive end Travis Long rolled over his leg. Foles' right knee dislocated, lodging on the right side of his leg.

Initially, Foles said, he feared the leg was broken.

"To look down on my leg and see the shape it was in, I thought the worst," he said. "It was pretty gross-looking. … I really couldn't feel anything, but the idea of not playing was pretty scary."

• The triage. UA trainers popped Foles' kneecap back into place within minutes of the injury, allowing him to put some pressure on it. He was fitted with a brace and given crutches for the rest of the night. Initially, Foles was told he'd be out for three to six weeks.

With his father, Larry, on the sidelines, Foles made plans to return to his hometown for intensive therapy.

"I don't have much time to sit back and let it heal," he said. "I've got to do everything I can to get it better."

• The trip to Texas. Foles flew back to Tucson with his teammates, then boarded a plane home to Austin, Texas, and North Star Manual Therapy. The 11-year-old company specializes in deep-tissue massage with an emphasis on getting athletes back on the field quickly. Therapists Brent Voth and Jeff Freeman have worked with sprinter Usain Bolt and baseball players Matt Holliday and Huston Street.

"You pull a hamstring, and you're supposed to be out four weeks, you'll be back the next day," Foles said. "You can't just be good. You have to be great, and they're great at it."

Foles knew. North Star's therapists worked on his right (throwing) shoulder when he tore his labrum as a senior at Westlake High School. Foles played the final 12 games of the season with the injury, astounding his teammates and fans.

• The treatment. Therapists worked on Foles' leg three hours a day for three days, massaging the connective tissue around Foles' injured knee. The tissue, called fascia, surrounds each muscle like saran wrap. Using a deep-tissue massage technique, the therapists "unwound" the fascia to speed recovery.

"We target that tissue specifically," Voth told the Star on Tuesday. "As you untwist the fascia, it unlocks the muscle. The pressure on the ligaments decreases, and the pain goes away. … Even the pros don't have this technology."

The deep-tissue massages like the ones Foles received are anything but relaxing.

"We have to use as much force to fix the injury as it took to injure it," Voth said.

• The rehab. Foles returned to Tucson on Thursday with instructions on how to treat his injured leg. The Wildcats' quarterback follows a recovery program planned by UA head trainer Randy Cohen and his staff. He runs in the UA's indoor training pool, works on balancing and strengthening exercises and does "ground work" before practices.

Cohen said he supported Foles' decision to visit his Texas-based therapist.

"One thing with athletes, it's their bodies - and they need to take care of them the way they need to care of them," Cohen said.

Foles ices his knee daily but is taking no drugs.

"I don't like painkillers," Foles said. "I just deal with it. It's just sore."

Foles will wear a neoprene brace on his right knee until his knee is steady enough.

"The big thing is balancing, getting all those little muscles firing in there," he said.

• The return? Foles is officially listed as questionable to play against UCLA, but that could change if he continues to make progress in practice.

"You want him to be healthy, to be able to protect himself and do all the things he did prior to the injury," Stoops said.

So far, Foles is passing all his tests.

As for the three-to-six week diagnosis?

"I plan on beating that," Foles said with a smile.

Up next

• What: Arizona at UCLA

• When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday

• TV: FSAZ

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Pac-12 South football standings

Team W L T PCT
Arizona 5 1 0 0.833
Utah 5 1 0 0.833
USC 5 2 0 0.714
ASU 5 1 0 0.833
UCLA 5 2 0 0.714
Colorado 3 4 0 0.429

Pac-12 North football standings

Team W L T PCT
Oregon 6 1 0 0.857
Oregon State 4 2 0 0.667
Stanford 4 3 0 0.571
Washington 5 2 0 0.714
Cal 4 3 0 0.571
Washington State 2 5 0 0.286
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