Rams' Nelson rebounded from injuries to shine on diamond

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Published: Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 19:43 PM.

SPRINGFIELD — Nick Nelson would have done himself a favor had he stopped fielding grounders the first time he felt the “pop” in the back of his leg two years ago.

Surrendering to a little discomfort just wasn’t part of his nature.

“It was Christmas break during my sophomore year, and I was at a (baseball) camp at (the University of Florida) playing first base,” said Nelson, now a senior at Rutherford. “A throw was low, and it was freezing, and I did the splits and it popped. I thought I’d still try, so I took a grounder to throw to third. It popped again and the back of my leg went numb.”

That second tinge of pain was the sensation of his hamstring tearing free from the bone, an injury that ultimately sidelined him for the entirety of his sophomore season with the Rams.

“The doctors thought I just pulled it,” he said. “At my visit to get medically released to play again, they found a knot on the back of my leg. I had an MRI on a Wednesday, found out I tore it on Thursday and had surgery on Friday.

“I didn’t know how serious it was. I didn’t know you could tear it off the bone. That was a shock. I didn’t know what to think. You never think that’s going to happen.”

Nelson batted .333 as a freshman at Rutherford, and he spent the second half of his sophomore year in physical therapy trying to work his way back onto the field. After weeks of physical therapy and one lost season, Nelson earned the go-ahead to return to the diamond. Memories of the injury still remained in the back of Nelson’s mind during his junior year, however.



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