Swinney: Clemson's Ross Clearing Rehab Hurdles, Still Has Ways to Go

Brad Senkiw

Justyn Ross continues to successfully clear rehab hurdles in his football career comeback, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday. 

The junior receiver suffered a stinger injury during the spring of this year that led to the discovery of a congenital fusion condition in his spine. He had surgery to correct it during the summer and is out for the 2020 season. 

Ross tweeted earlier Wednesday that he's got a helmet back on, signaling how far he's come in a short time. 

"It's great to see him as I've said many times it's been awesome," Swinney said. "Just to watch him work, he has grinded and our medical staff has done a great job."

Swinney said Ross has got his weight back up and has been lifting weights, including doing squats. he's running normally as well, but he reached a benchmark this week. 

"He was pretty excited to be able to put that helmet on, and we're just trying to kind of get used to it," Swinney said. "Next week he gets to go to another level."

That will include dressing out, running routes against air with quarterbacks and participating in other non-contact drills. 

"That'll be a big shot in the arm for him too, but he's doing great," Swinney said. 

The head coach added that Ross is ahead of schedule, and he's been working with associate strength and conditioning coach Larry Greenlee like former Clemson receiver Mike Williams did after he suffered a broken neck in 2015. 

Swinney doesn't anticipate Ross, who has 1,865 yards on 112 catches and 17 touchdowns in two seasons, being available at any point this season. He still has to be cleared by Dr. David Okonkwo, who performed the surgery in Pittsburgh, so Swinney doesn't expect Ross back in full until next fall. 

He should, however, be able to participate in non-contact drills during the spring of 2021, Swinney said. 

"I think that's all encouraging and you just got to keep our fingers crossed," Swinney said. Hopefully, the Good Lord blesses us with good news in December when he goes back for his, his big, big final kind of checkup with the doctors of Pittsburgh."

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