From his first game as a true freshman in 2011 through the Ball State game on Oct. 5, 2013, Virginia senior cornerback Demetrious Nicholson started every game for the Cavaliers. His streak of starts ended at 30, when Nicholson was forced to sit out the rest of the 2013 season after suffering a turf toe injury in the loss to the Cardinals.
More than 10 months later, Nicholson is still battling back. One of the Cavs' most experienced players, Nicholson has spent the summer rehabbing after having surgery on May 1.
"It got better, but I believe coming back and trying to keep pushing through it probably made it worse," Nicholson says of his turf toe injury. "They actually found a cyst on it that they didn't know, so they did surgery on it and fixed it up for me."
Early in UVa's fall camp, Nicholson is still limited in practice. He was recently cleared to run on the field, but still hasn't been allowed to take part in full practices.
"I'm very anxious," he says. "Especially during the time of camp where I know we have a game this month, and you know time is ticking. I see my guys out here having fun, running around. I just want to be able to be a part of that. I'm getting better, and I'm doing all I can to keep progressing my injury, so hopefully I'll be out there soon."
"He's battling back," says senior safety Anthony Harris. "He's getting better each day and improving to where we're hoping to get him back as soon as possible. But a guy like that, that much experience, that much talent, knowing the passion that he has, it's hard to see him over there not getting out there, not making plays that I know he's definitely capable of making."
Nicholson's road to a full recovery has been longer than he anticipated, but he's hoping it will come to an end before the 'Hoos begin the season on Aug. 30 against UCLA.
"I'm really confident. I'm getting better pretty fast. When I first had my surgery I was in the depression state, but now I started rehabbing and started running. I was able to lift all through the summer, so I got my strength up and conditioning now, so I'll be ready."