Iowa forward Cordell Pemsl showed an insane degree of toughness last season as he admitted to reporters this weekend that he played nearly his entire freshman season with two torn groins.
Not realizing the injuries were that serious until after the season, Pemsl had offseason sports hernia surgery, according to a story from Rob Howe of Hawkeye Nation. Pemsl said he started to feel pain before a Nov. 25th game against Virginia in the Emerald Coast Classic and continued to play the rest of the season despite having to stretch for extended periods of time before even beginning warm-ups.
“I felt it every practice and every game. Once I started getting loose and warmed up a little bit it would go away a little but I always had that pain in the back of my mind and after the season is when I found out I had torn both of my groins. So, I guess I was playing on torn groins all season,” Pemsl said to Howe.
“So, I guess I was playing on torn groins all season.”
Not only did Pemsl show ridiculous grit by gutting out the full season, but he was also a key contributor to Iowa last season as a true freshman. As Howe points out, Pemsl was remarkably fourth on the Hawkeyes in points and rebounds per game last season (8.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg) as he became a solid piece for the future foundation of Iowa basketball.
“No one knew I was in pain. I never showed it or anything like that. Half the time I didn’t even remember I could feel it. Your adrenaline is going, stuff like that. But I had no idea (he had torn muscles),” Pemsl said to Howe.
Pemsl is hoping to be healthy by mid-July as Iowa is scheduled to take a European exhibition trip in August before the start of next season. Even if Pemsl is out for that trip, he should be good to go by the time his sophomore season begins next fall.
It’ll be interesting to see what a fully-healthy Pemsl is capable of after a promising initial campaign. Even with the injuries, he shot 61 percent from the field last season and had a couple of 20-point games. I also feel pretty okay with labeling Pemsl as one of the toughest players in the country for the rest of eternity.
(H/t: Rob Howe, Hawkeye Nation)