Richmond, VA (WWBT)- Last season started out promising for Richmond infielder Mike Small. A freshman infielder, Small had earned the starting nod at shortstop for Mark McQueen's Spiders, and took the field for a game against the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers. This is where Small's story takes a devastating turn.
Small led off the game with a single and slid into second in hopes of breaking up a double play later that inning. During that slide, Small suffered a fractured fibula and a dislocated ankle, and was taken off the field by ambulance. He had surgery to insert a screw in his ankle, and a metal plate now stabilizes his fibula.
Through hard work and determination, Small went through months of grueling rehabilitation and was cleared to resume baseball activities in September with some drills. He participated in a few scrimmages for the Spiders following fall workouts, a great sign in his road to recovery.
Preseason practice started for the Spiders this past Friday and Small is back in the mix. He's participating in practice at full speed and is expected to earn a starting spot in the Spiders' infield this year. McQueen says that his sophomore infielder is farther along than he would have expected him to be at this point. Small earned Atlantic 10 All-Rookie honors last season, despite suffering the injury, and is expected to be a valuable part of the team in 2012.
Small and the Spiders open up their 2012 schedule on February 17 against Liberty at The Citadel. That game is part of The Citadel Memorial Challenge, as Richmond will also face The Citadel and Towson during that weekend as well.