By Richard Kagan
For Julian Boyd, his college basketball career may begin in January and end in March. Boyd, a Northeast Conference Player of the Year a few years ago, is attempting to return to action from a second anterior cruciate ligament surgery on his right knee. Last season, in the eighth game, Boyd suffered his first torn ACL after he collided on the court with a Rice University player. Boyd, with an injured knee, watched on the court sideline last March as the Long Island University (Brklyn) Blackbirds won their third straight NEC title and another bid to the NCAA’s.
This season, Boyd still hopes to be on the court in helping Blackbirds extend their season. Boyd, in his sixth season of eligibility, has had a topsy-turvy career. The 6’7” forward was named rookie of the NEC in 2009. He missed the next season while recovering from a heart ailment. In the 2011-12 season, he was named NEC Player of the Year.
The Blackbirds went 25-9 that year and 16-2 in the Conference on their way to a NCAA bid. Last season he was averaging 18.5 ppg and 6.1 rebounds until the knee injury early in the season. (“My knee) hurt pretty bad,” said Boyd. “I never felt pain like that before.”
Boyd was working out alone last summer and went to retrieve a basketball, and his knee turned one way and his body moved another way, and Boyd felt some pain but not like the first time. His team trainer told him he was pushing it and doing too much on the tender knee.
Boyd is now a graduate student at LIU’s Brooklyn campus. He initially balked at having a second operation, but realized that in order to play basketball after college, if he is lucky enough to get a look, he’d need a second surgery.
His surgeon, Dr. Jonathan Glashow, co-chief of Sports Medicine of the Mt. Sinai Medical Center and team physician for the NBA Philadelphia 76’ers, performed both operations. Dr. Glashow thought Boyd was on track to play but that Boyd needed to follow protocol.
“It’s a timeline issue,” said Dr. Glashow. Boyd wants to play for LIU in 2014, but Glashow doesn’t want to see him rush back. Boyd has another medical visit and at this point, is not cleared to play.
Boyd, 23, is optimistic. “The knee feels pretty good, Boyd noted. (I hope) to come back and have a good season and play this year.”
Boyd was working on getting the knee stronger in the weight room. He has not yet been able to run on the court. He is planning on coming back to the team in early January.
In the meantime, he has sort of been a coach to the new players who will man the roster. “I teach the things I’ve learned over the years,” said Boyd. “Being there, it’s hard to believe that I was in the same position doing the things what they were doing. I’m giving them advice to get court ready and learn court presence.”
Boyd was impressed with Chris Carter, and Landon Atterberry, two Junior College transfers who will see a lot of playing time. “Chris runs the floor very well,” Boyd noted. Carter appears like he would fit into Coach Jack Perri’s up tempo style.
Jason Brickman will return as the starting point guard. The senior has gotten pre-season accolades like being mentioned as a Mid-major All-American by NBC Sports.com. “Jason is the most under-rated point guard in the country,” said Boyd. Brickman leads LIU in assists after three seasons. Boyd said he has talked to Brickman and reminded him to shoot more. “He likes to pass the ball,” Boyd conceded. “I told him he is gonna have to score,” Boyd said.
It’s going to be a group effort until Boyd returns to the lineup. The Blackbirds will look to E.J. Reed, a returning forward from last year’s squad to make a strong contribution.
Boyd is hopeful that he will be back. “I’m feeling stronger, way better than I did last time.”