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Justyn Ross feels 'real good' entering June doctors appointment

Matt Connolly04/01/21
Article written by:On3 imageMatt Connolly

MattOnClemson

Justyn Ross
Justyn Ross is hoping to be fully cleared to play football by the season opener. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

CLEMSON — Justyn Ross has yet to be cleared for contact after undergoing surgery for a bulging disc last summer, but Clemson’s star receiver is hoping that clearance is coming soon.

Ross has an appointment with his doctor in Pittsburgh in June, and if everything goes well and he passes the final mark, he will be cleared then for fall camp and for the 2021 season.

The Alabama native was out for all of last year after it was discovered that he had a congenital fusion in his spine.

“I feel real good going into the meeting. Everything should go as planned,” Ross said Wednesday night. “I’m gonna be ready to play ball whenever he tells me. Whenever he tells me.”

The injury was first discovered last spring when Ross ran a slant during a practice and was hit going over the middle by a linebacker. Ross thought he just had a stinger and would be fine, but an x-ray uncovered a bigger issue.

He was told then that not only would he miss the 2020 season, but that his football career was also in jeopardy.

Justyn-Ross-Clemson-football

Justyn Ross was sidelined for the entire 2020 season. (Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

“At first it was kinda hard, but after talking with my family and everything and finally finding a doctor that would do the surgery, I felt a little better because the doctor gave me a lot of confidence,” Ross said.

He had surgery last June and wasn’t able to do much of anything for about three months. Ross then started slowly working his way back and clearing hurdles that were designated by his doctor.

Ross returned to the practice field in a yellow jersey late in the 2020 season and was able to take part in non-contact portions of practice. He has continued doing non-contact work this spring.

“It feels good, man, just because a year ago I was thinking I wouldn’t even be able to put on pads again. So it feels good. I’m very grateful. I’m taking advantage of every rep I get,” Ross said. “I was just out there smiling because I realized how quick the game can be taken away from you.”

If Ross is cleared in time for the 2021 season, the plan is for him to play in the slot this fall. At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Ross believes he can be a handful for defenses.

He has already proven that he is one of the top receivers in the country when healthy. Ross led the Tigers in receiving yards with 1,000 as a freshman in 2018 and led Clemson in receptions with 66 in 2019.

“I like it,” Ross said. “I played the slot a little bit my freshman year… they moved me around. They were setting me up in the slot. I feel like it’ll be a great advantage for me. … Just having that advantage to go against slower opponents.”

But whether it’s in the slot or elsewhere, Ross is just hoping to be able to play football this year after sitting out last season.

“I ain’t really let myself get down because I know that can’t help me, that can’t do nothing for me. But it was hard watching, just sitting on the sideline watching it,” Ross said. “This was my first time ever missing a football season in my whole life.”