OXFORD, Miss. (WCBI) — On April 5th, in a midweek match-up against North Alabama, Ole Miss senior captain Tim Elko tore his ACL.
Usually, that injury would bench any athlete for the remainder of the season. However, Elko isn’t just any athlete.
“You hate to kind of start putting timelines on it,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said following Elko’s injury. “A lot of it just depends on him. One of the things we’ve learned from the doctor is how different this injury is for a lot of people.”
Different is the perfect way to describe Tim Elko’s ACL tear. While trying to dodge the first baseman in the Rebels meeting against North Alabama, a misstep resulted in devastation.
The Rebels star hitter was helped off the field after suffering an ACL tear. That’s an injury that traditionally requires surgery and anywhere from 8-12 months of recovery.
With two months of the regular season remaining, Coach Bianco was hopeful that Elko could return to the plate in just 2-4 weeks.
“Then it’s just going to be a thing to where: is he able to do it? As the doctor said today some people can and some people can’t,” Bianco said.
33 days following his injury, Elko proved he can. In the Rebels series against Texas A&M, Ole Miss was working to even up the series.
While the Rebels were up on the Aggies, 9-2, in the seventh inning, Elko came in to pinch hit, and he delivered. His first hit back from injury was a 3-run bomb to right field. Just like that — Ole Miss’ senior captain, Tim Elko, was back.
“It was an awesome moment,” Elko said. “Almost blacked out a little bit once I hit it and was running the bases, but I mean, it was a great moment.”
In game eight of the SEC tournament against Vanderbilt, Elko hit another milestone. Although the Rebels fell to the Commodores on a walk-off, 5-4, Elko launched two bombs for his first multi-home run game since his April injury.
Now that Elko has returned to the Rebels starting line-up, he said he’s feeling just fine.
“If I wasn’t, I’d say something. I’ve been feeling fine. Just happy to be back out there and helping the team in any way I can. Sometimes when I’m rounding the bases, it’s a little unstable, but that’s why I got the brace. Really not feeling a whole lot of pain,” Elko said.
Luckily, Ole Miss will have the team leader with them as the Rebels get ready to battle through the postseason with NCAA Regionals beginning on June 4th.