CHICAGO - Jeremiah Gray had just dusted off a plate of chicken marsala when he gave me a call from sunny California.
The 6-foot-5, 185-pound high leaper wanted to share his plans in the immediate future.
Amid speculation about his health, Gray will indeed enter the 2022 PBA draft, where he is expected to go as high as a Top 5 pick.
But here's the caveat: Gray, who starred at the Dominican University of California before taking his talents to the Philippines, won't play until January 2023.
"I want to make sure I'm 100 percent when I get out there on the court and be able to do what I'm capable of," said the 25-year old, who is recovering from a torn ACL on his left knee.
Gray sustained the injury last November 27 while suiting up for TNT in the third leg of the PBA's 3x3 tournament.
He flew home to the US last December 15 and went through physical therapy. And then on January 6, Gray had surgery at Los Robles Hospital in his hometown of Thousand Oaks, California.
So far, rehab has progressed amazingly well.
"I'm in the middle stage of rehabilitation right now," he told SPIN.ph. "I'm doing non-contact drills and I'm at 30 to 40 percent speed."
The healing process is expected to last between six to seven months since the operation, Gray added.
The physical toil that rehab demands can be extremely challenging, but Gray is eating all the pain and discomfort like a pro.
"I'm a very competitive person and I have a great support group behind me. I also lean on my faith to help me navigate this ordeal," Jeremiah confessed.
If anything, it's the mental side of the entire ordeal that is testing the limits of his patience and endurance.
"It's hard to be away from the court, to be taken away from the game I love. It has given me a deeper appreciation of basketball and in life in general. This setback is a reminder to never take anything for granted."
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