Mansell's long road back

By Travis Eldridge

July 9, 2013 Updated Jan 9, 2014 at 8:30 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) As Robert Mansell was carried off the Events Center floor during a game against Albany, he had no idea the path back to it would be this long.

"I mean I've had ankle injuries, but that's about it," said Mansell. "I mean, nothing I guess past a week that I've been injured. This injury is so big."

Mansell didn't walk for the first 6 weeks after the injury. and the rehab process continued into last school year. That forced Mansell to make a decision with newly appointed coach Tommy Dempsey. Redshirt and sit out the whole year, or try to come back for the end of the season.

"The decision was just based off of how strong my knee was," Mansell said. "Physically, I think I was fine, but it was just the mental part that was pretty difficult to get past."

Rob skipped the three-win campaign, watching his teammates struggle offensively at times, as he itched to lace up his sneakers on the bench. The watching though was just as much a part of his journey back as the rehab process itself.

"I think it really opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn't see before," he said. "I looked at tape from my sophomore year, and I drove a lot. I drew two, three defenders and I threw it up blindly, sometimes it went in, but people were wide open."

A maturing process for Mansell, who has taken on a leadership role in the weight room this off season. He now works with this year's crop of new Bearcats. However, when the lights are flicked on at the Events Center this fall, don't be surprised if it's his eyes are opened a little wider.

"I don't know if I'm going to be nervous or anxious or what," he said. "I think I'm going to feel like a freshman again, just lights all the people in the stands. It's just going to be really exciting for me."

That's because sometimes that long road back gives a new meaning to the chance to play the game.