Aaron Russell, a member of the American team that won bronze at the 2016 Summer Olympics, has hit a significant milestone in his recovery from an ankle injury. According to videos posted on his social media accounts, he’s resumed jumping activities – albeit not with a ball – back in the United States. In the video below, Russell can be seen performing moderate-height box jumps with a controlled landing and dismount as part of his rehab.
Russell hurt his ankle during a practice with his pro team, Italian powers Sir Safety Conad Perugia, on March 21st. That held him out of the semi-finals of Italy’s Serie A playoffs, in a best-of-5 series that they ultimately lost 3-2 to Trentino.
Russell played 85 sets and in all 26 of Sir Safety’s matches last season, where he scored 267 points to rank 24th among all outside hitters in Italy last season. He ranked high in attack percentage, scoring on 51.3% of his swings, which ranked him 6th among all outside hitters with at least 200 points on the season. He also had 25 aces (.29/set) and 18 blocks (.21/set) across the season.
The 24-year old, 6’9″ (205cm) outside hitter played collegiately at Penn State and has played with only Perugia since graduating in 2015. Besides the Olympic medal in 2016, he also earned gold at the 2016 World Cup and bronze at the 2015 World League with Team USA.
Russell started the 1st set, though was subbed out for Reid Priddy didn’t play any of the other 4, in the United States’ 3-2 win over Russia in the Olympic bronze medal match in Rio. He only scored 2 points in that limited action, but was a bigger contributor in the rest of the tournament – including 14 points in a semifinal loss to Italy and a team high 15 in 3 sets in the quarterfinals. He was also the leading scorer for the Americans in the last 3 matches of the 2016 World Cup that qualified the Americans to the Olympics.