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Ash learns to live with a bad back

02/06/2013, 6:52pm CST
By Jeff Vorva

Because of his scoliosis, Jordan Ash has had to struggle with back pain. But it was so bad that it caused him to miss a month of the basketball season. His teammates are sure glad to have his scoring punch back.

Westchester, IL - Friday, February 1, 2013: Mount Carmel's Malik Garrett (12) tries to get past St. Joe's Jordan Ash (23). | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media

St. Joseph sophomore guard Jordan Ash is no stranger to back ailments.

He said that he has had scoliosis since he was in sixth grade. It’s a spine curvature condition that happens more to girls than boys, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website.

It hasn’t stopped him from playing basketball over the years and becoming one of the elite Class of 2015 players in the state.

But he did suffer an uh-oh moment recently when in late December he was going for a dunk in practice and felt severe pain. He said back injuries are on and off for him and never go away.

But this one … .

“This was probably the worst it’s been,” Ash said. “But I’ve been in good hands with the right people to come back quicker than I planned.”

After missing close to a month, he returned Jan. 25 and scored 20 points in a 63-44 victory over St. Laurence. After failing to hit double figures in a 56-47 nonconference loss to West Aurora at the Sears Centre the next night, he followed up with a 14-point game in a 57-36 Catholic League North home win Friday night against Mount Carmel. He was 4-for-5 shooting from the floor.

“He started for us in four games at Proviso West when (Loren) Horton went down with an injury,” Chargers coach Gene Pingatore said. “He hurt his back and has been out a month and we missed him. He didn’t dress. He didn’t practice. He didn’t do anything. But he came back and scored 20 so I have to find a way to keep him in the lineup.”

“He’s been playing good since he came back,” senior A.J. Patty said. “It’s like he never left. He’s gotta just keep playing like this.”

Ash, a Bolingbrook resident, said he is not worrying about the back and will continue to play hard.

“That’s the longest I’ve ever been out,” he said. “I felt a little rusty and have been coming back slowly. Against St. Laurence I was on the fast break for a dunk and when I came down I could feel it. But when I came out of the game I stretched it out and it was fine.”

And it’s something he will always have to live with.

“It’s not severe enough where I ever had to stop playing,” he said. “But it’s something we definitely have to watch.”

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