Throughout his high school football and wrestling career at Plainville and two full seasons as a safety for the Washburn University football team, Jordan Finnesy had never faced a serious injury, with nothing more than the usual bumps and bruises.

JordanFinnesyWUfootball 1Washburn junior safety Jordan Finnesy is back in action for the Ichabods in spring practice after fighting through a serious knee injury. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

That all changed on the third play of the Ichabods' second game of the 2023 season against Missouri Southern last Sept. 7 when Finnesy suffered a serious knee injury that he's just now coming back from. 

"I tore my (medial collateral ligament) and also tore my meniscus,'' said Finnesy, a former standout quarterback/defensive back and two-time state wrestling champion at Plainville. "I also had a fracture on the MCL, so then I ended up having to get that re-attached to the bone.''

Complicating things for Finnesy, one of a long list of Ichabods who suffered season-ending injuries last fall, was the fact that the true extent of his injury wasn't determined until weeks later.

"They initially missed the fracture part of it and technically I would have been able to come back,'' said the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Finnesy. "It was the week of Missouri Western (Week 6) and I was actually out practicing and thought I was going to be able to play that week and I got a call from the doctor and had to shut it down and go get surgery that same week.

"I had surgery in the middle of October and was able to start re-habbing right away after that and was fully cleared right before spring break, so it was about five months.''

For someone who had never faced serious injury challenges, Finnesy, who recorded 58 tackes in 2022, admitted that fighting through his injury was a big hurdle, not only physically but mentally.

"It's tough on you, especially that early in the season, because you're just coming off a good game against Pitt State (seven tackles, five solos) and you're looking forward to a long, good season coming up and then that happens,'' Finnesy said.

"Mentally it kind of wears on you, but it's just trusting what God's plan is for you. Your teammates and coaches are there for you and you just have to trust in the process and get through that.''

Finnesy said it was also hard to watch from the sidelines as the injury-riddled Ichabods fought through a 2-9 season and knowing that he could have helped.

"That's definitely a big part of it as well, especially when a lot of those games that we lost we were so close and the reason we were losing those games was a lot of little things, little detail things and that definitely makes it tougher,'' he said. "But you can't worry about that and beat yourself up over it and just look to the future and see the ways you can help these younger guys and hopefully turn those losses into wins.''

In a season defined in part by the number of players who were unable to play, Ichabod coach Craig Schurig said the loss of Finnesy was one of the team's most costly absences.

"He puts in a lot of work and he's very talented and very smart, too,'' Schurig said. "You have a quarterback on offense and he's the quarterback of our defense.

"He's a leader by example, communication-wise he's a leader on the field, and he's a really good player. He has two years left and he's an all-conference, All-America style of player if he stays healthy. He's that kind of guy.''

The good news for both Washburn and Finnesy is that he's finally back to full speed.

"The first half of spring ball before spring break I was non-contact for a week and then right before spring break I was cleared 100 percent so now I'm 100 percent go and back at it,'' Finnesy said.

And Finnesy said he believes he can be a better player moving forward.

"The injury part just takes healing but then you just have to attack it and look at the positives and what you can gain from it,'' he said. "Just lifting for six months really helps and it's getting smarter in the playbook and getting to watch from the sidelines and see different situations and how they play it and just running it through your head what you would do in that situation.

"You can elevate your game that way.''

Finnesy also thinks that as a team, Washburn, which went to the NCAA playoffs as recently as 2021, has the talent to make a quick turnaround from '23.

"Having so many injuries last year, a lot of those younger guys got the reps that they needed and now we've built some depth, getting all of the hurt guys back and getting a mix of the younger and older guys,'' Finnesy said. "That's really helped and we're looking forward to this season because we're ready to go and we're flying around out there (in spring practice) and having fun and playing fast.''

"We've been keeping receipts (from last year's losses) and we're ready to go.''

Washburn will hold its spring scrimmage at 10 a.m. April 6 at Yager Stadium and the Ichabods will open the 2024 season on Aug. 29 at Emporia State.



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