The Collegian
Thursday, May 19, 2022

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​Star quarterback will return this season

<p>Injured quarterback Michael Strauss looks on from the sidelines during Richmond's Homecoming Game.</p>

Injured quarterback Michael Strauss looks on from the sidelines during Richmond's Homecoming Game.

Michael Strauss, Richmond’s star quarterback, plans to return this season despite being told by team doctors that he would miss the rest of his final collegiate season, Strauss said.

Strauss practiced for the first time Wednesday and felt minimal pain in his ankle, he said. He was able to jog and do a number of drills, despite being out of a walking boot for only one day.

“I feel good,” Strauss said. “It’s on me now to show the coaches I’m ready to play and perform.”

Head coach Danny Rocco confirmed Strauss’ status. “He has been cleared to start return to play protocol,” Rocco wrote in an email. “It is difficult to determine how quickly he will play. Should be able to have a more realistic expectation by Monday.”

The original diagnosis of Strauss’ injury was a small fracture in the back of his foot and a few torn ligaments. The original timetable for return, based on that diagnosis, was two to four weeks.

After stress tests revealed separation in his ankle, Dr. Mark M. Jones, the team’s foot and ankle consultant, told Strauss he would have to miss the remainder of the season. Jones thought there were about 3 millimeters of separation in Strauss’ ankle, Strauss said.

Strauss, who is from the Miami area, had his original MRI sent to Dr. John Uribe, who is Strauss’ doctor at home and has served as the team doctor for the Miami Dolphins and the Florida Marlins, Strauss said. After Strauss was told he would have to sit out the rest of the season, Uribe told him to travel to Miami so he could do tests on the ankle, because the MRI did not look severe enough to Uribe to warrant ending Strauss’ season.

Tests done in Miami, which included a stress test and a CT scan, revealed only about 1-1.5 millimeters of separation, which is usually not severe enough to keep a player off the field. 

“He shoots it straight with me,” Strauss said about Uribe. “He said as long as I know my limits and listen to my body, I should be fine.” Uribe also told him there was little to no risk of worsening the injury by playing through it.

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Uribe told Strauss he understood why Jones thought the injury was severe after seeing the tests, but he could play through it as long as he knew his limits, Strauss said. Jones’ decision to end the quarterback’s season was not wrong, but rather conservative, Strauss said, and the team doctors in Richmond have been complying with Uribe’s diagnoses.

Since first visiting Uribe, Strauss has spent hours in the training and weight rooms working to recover his body and get healthy enough to play, he said. Strauss praised team trainers Chris Jones and Molly Sutherland for spending hours of their time helping him recover.

Strauss revisited Miami for a follow-up earlier this week, and saw both Uribe and foot and ankle specialist Christopher Hodgkins. The doctors were pleased with Strauss’ recovery, and said the condition of his ankle now is “night and day” when compared with the condition of his ankle during the first tests in Miami.

Strauss’ teammates are excited to have him back, but are more concerned with defeating Maine this Saturday. “We’re definitely excited about Mike returning,” Rashad Ponder, senior receiver, said. “We’re happy that he’s healthy. But now Rocco is our quarterback and our main focus is taking care of business in Maine.”

Strauss has not played since Oct. 11, when he suffered the injury during the game against Albany. Wednesday’s practice marked 25 days since he was injured, which puts him on pace with the original two to four week timetable for return.

Contact reporter Charlie Broaddus at charlie.broaddus@richmond.edu

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