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June 7, 2012
Before former Louisville point guard Edgar Sosa can help his native Dominican Republic qualify for the Olympics, he is trying to get back to full health.
Sosa suffered a gruesome fracture of his tibia and fibula last September while playing for the Dominicans in the FIBA Americas tournament in Argentina, but he was back with the team in full-speed workouts on Wednesday - defying the odds.
"Doctors in Argentina told me two years (of recovery time); some told me a year and a half," Sosa said. "I didn't know what to expect. I just went to rehab every day and worked as hard as I could. I thank God I'm here now and can join the team."
Sosa is able to practice but admits he is still trying to get back to the level he was before the injury.
While rehabbing Sosa said Calipari contacted him weekly.
"I have so much respect for Coach Cal," Sosa said. "Throughout the whole year he called me at least once a week to tell me he was praying for me. That's something I really appreciated. Not many people called me."
Sosa realizes that Calipari was busy winning his first national championship but still made time to contact a player that he had only coached for a couple months.
"He had the No. 1 team in the country, and they were rolling," Sosa said. "For him to take time out of his schedule to just give me a call and make sure rehab was going well was just something I took to heart and my family took to heart.
"He's such a great guy and a great coach, and I'm just excited I'm able to play for him again this summer."
Sosa injured ended a strong summer for him with the Dominicans. He averaged 8.8 points per game in the FIBA tournament and torched the "Kentucky Pros," made up of UK alumni now in the NBA, in a pair of exhibition games, scoring a combined 44 points.
"NBA teams were contacting my agent. They were really excited about me, and something like that had to happen," Sosa said. "It's like starting over from scratch, not just trying to make an NBA team but trying to get a contract from Europe. This summer will be a big summer for me."
Sosa resumed basketball activities on May 12 and is hopeful of being back in full form by the Olympic qualifying tournament next month.
"It's difficult; I have to find my rhythm," Sosa said. "I haven't played basketball in eight and a half months, and I'm being thrown into the fire.
"That was the first major injury I've ever had in my life. Throughout my career I've just had a sprained ankle or tweaked knee ... nothing serious. But when this happened I didn't know what to expect."