Add another anecdote to the legend of the unrelenting Aaron Craft.
Since Liberty-Benton high school, the Ohio State point guard has had a bone chip floating in his left ankle, his father said.
"If he turned the ankle wrong just a certain way, that small piece of bone would get jammed back on his tibia and it would cause excruciating pain," John Craft said.
It was the reason Aaron was seen pulling up with a limp in some games last season, then recovering quickly and playing on as if nothing had happened.
"Part of that is the competitor in him," his father said.
But the competitor in Aaron also resisted the encouragement of team doctors, trainers and coaches to get the problem fixed.
In May, John Craft said coach Thad Matta called him and asked if he could persuade Aaron to have surgery just so he would take two weeks off from working on his game.
"He hasn’t stopped since we’ve been back from (the Final Four in) New Orleans," Matta told the father.
It was a battle, but good sense finally won out.
Rather than attend three skills-development camps in three weeks last month, Aaron assented to play in only two and had surgery June 18 to remove the chip.
His father said the surgeon also removed three bone spurs that had been caused by the chip rubbing against the tibia.
"His attitude was, ‘I want to get better this summer,’?" John Craft said. "That’s admirable, but I told him you’ve got to look at the big picture. You owe it to the team to be ready for them in August," when the Buckeyes will be able to start preseason drills with coaches earlier than in past years because of Ohio State’s switch to semesters.
Craft has been in a cast and on crutches since the surgery but is scheduled to have the cast removed today, be fitted with a walking boot and begin rehabilitation, his father said. He should be "full go" in three to four weeks.
"He wants to push it, but right now he can’t," John Craft said.
"The best thing about it is, he’s got two ‘bear’ classes right now, molecular genetics and physics. The one, he is in class for four hours today through Friday, and he tells me he enjoys it because he can sit in the front of the classroom and put his leg up on a chair and not have to move around.
"He just marches to the beat of a different drummer."