Pitt football recruit Zach Challingsworth is back from what was feared to be a sports hernia that would keep him out of this basketball season.
And I can't say I'm all that surprised about it.
Challingsworth played for South Fayette team tonight, helping the Lions earn a 64-55 win at Glen Burnie High School in Maryland. He came off the bench, played about 10 minutes and reported no ill-effects.
"I'm going to call my parents as soon as I get off the phone and tell them I feel great," Challingsworth told me minutes after the game.
When I talked to Challingsworth about this at the beginning of December, he wasn't the least bit happy about having to miss his senior season. Yes, some Division I football players give up hoops or baseball as seniors to stay healthy, but that's not Challingsworth's style.
The kid wants to play and should be commended for it.
He told me that he couldn't take sitting out any longer and practiced with the team Saturday. Since he was never officially told he couldn't play -- he was only going to sit out as a precaution -- he didn't need cleared. He did check with the family doctor and got the OK.
"I just wanted to finish my senior year the way I had originally planned," said Challingsworth, who averaged 15.2 points per game last season and was a first team All-District selection. "It's kind of crazy how it all happened."
Challingsworth said he was especially winded tonight and was nowhere near in basketball shape. "I'm still getting back into this," he said. "I didn't really have my legs under me; at times I was trying to catch my breath. I need to get into basketball shape."
South Fayette plays at North County today, another Maryland school. And at 2-0 without Challingsworth in Section 5-AAA, the Lions should immediately be pushed to the top of the heap alongside Montour, Keystone Oaks and Chartiers Valley.