A reaggravated hamstring injury has put Derrick Willies' career as a Rock Island hurdler on hold.|
Based on the latest prognosis, Willies may have competed in his last race.
"The way I feel now, yes," Willies said Thursday evening about that possibility.
Willies, the reigning Class 3A 110-meter hurdles state champion and an Iowa football signee, initially suffered a torn right hamstring on Jan. 22 during the Rocks' first track practice. Rest and physical therapy in the following weeks allowed him to participate in the Shipley Invitational last Saturday.
Competing only in the 110 hurdles, he pulled up lame halfway through the race and did not finish.
"I wasn't concerned about my leg -- I thought I was past my injury," Willies said. "After those first hurdles, coming down on my lead leg, I felt it. Once my foot touched the ground, I knew I reinjured it."
With physical therapy in the immediate future, Willies was told he could be back in May. If he raced again, he said it would not be until the Western Big 6 Conference meet in Quincy on May 10.
The Class 3A state meet is two weeks later.
"I'm second-guessing everything right now if running is worth it because I could get injured for football," said Willies, the only Rocky athlete to win a hurdles state title. "I want to compete, but there's a lot more ahead of me than winning a state title."
Still, this process has been difficult considering what he could accomplish on the track.
"It's really annoying," Willies said. "Nobody wants to be hurt. It's not fun. I want to get healthy as soon as I can."
While the door is not completely closed on Willies' track career, he is being realistic. He is scheduled to report to Iowa in June, so the focus is making sure he starts his collegiate football career healthy.
"I can't really say whether I'm going to come back for sure. It's not about me being ready -- it's whether I want to risk it," Willies said. "Getting healthy is the No. 1 thing right now. I don't want to ruin anything I've worked so hard for."
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