Kostis eager for return

Contact sports like football, hockey and basketball often see the worst of sprained ankles, ACL tears, and or concussions. Golf, however, isn't thought of as a sport that poses a lot of risk for injury, but Arizona men's golfer John Kostis has broken that stereotype.


The constant twisting, untwisting and force behind a golf swing often leaves golfers with an ailing back. That range of motion, or lack thereof, is something that Kostis, a junior from Phoenix's Brophy College Preparatory school, is all too familiar with.


Because of a back injury that has been nagging him for just under a year, it has been 122 days since he has competed with his teammates.


""Everyone has their injuries, and John's has been a hindrance to him for a while now,"" said teammate Tarquin MacManus. ""An injury is one of those things that screws with you, but there's not really much you can do except work at recovering.""


After shooting rounds of 80 and 81 on the first day of last week's Braveheart Classic, Kostis — who was competing as an individual, not a member of the team — broke through with a 70 in the final round.


""It's exciting to be playing again,"" Kostis said. ""It was a long winter break for me … I did a lot of rehab and had a couple of epidurals. It still hurts a fair amount, but it's definitely getting better.


""It's been going on since around last May,"" he added. ""I played all summer and fall, and then finally, after CordeValle (Collegiate), I had to call it quits and shut it down for a month and a half probably. It's frustrating not to be able to play, but you just turn that dedication from practice into dedication to rehab.""


As often happens with athletes, Kostis' focus on getting back onto the golf course may have pushed his timetable for return back even further.


He suffered a setback after attempting a comeback too soon following the injury.


""At the end of December I hit a few balls and it started to flare up again,"" Kostis said. ""I had to shut it down for another two weeks, but now it's starting to feel a little better.""


Although he was in the regular rotation during the fall season, Kostis shouldn't expect to just be handed back his spot.


""We took him as an individual to see where his tournament play was, and, at this point, his tournament play isn't very good,"" said assistant coach Andy Barnes.


As of now, it's up to Kostis to let his play decide when he returns to action.


""If you ask me, I wouldn't say that John (Kostis) was probably on top of his game, but maybe that had to do with not getting a lot of practice during break because he was trying to rest,"" Barnes said. ""At this point, he's back … he's going to have to earn his way back into the lineup.""

 


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