Iowa men’s basketball’s Josh Dix recovered from leg injury, full participant in practice

The freshman guard from Council Bluffs broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg during a high school basketball game in late January.

Iowa+freshman+Josh+Dix+warms+up+during+an+Iowa+men%E2%80%99s+basketball+practice+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+on+Wednesday%2C+June+15%2C+2022.+Dix+committed+to+the+Hawkeyes+and+additionally+received+offers+from+Colorado+State%2C+Drake%2C+Minnesota%2C+Northern+Iowa%2C+Purdue%2C+South+Dakota+State%2C+Wake+Forest+and+Wisconsin.

Jerod Ringwald

Iowa freshman Josh Dix warms up during an Iowa men’s basketball practice at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. Dix committed to the Hawkeyes and additionally received offers from Colorado State, Drake, Minnesota, Northern Iowa, Purdue, South Dakota State, Wake Forest and Wisconsin.

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor


Just over eight months ago, Josh Dix’s basketball future was in question. 

On Jan. 21, with just under two minutes left in the fourth quarter between Dix’s Lincoln High School and Le Mars, the three-star Iowa recruit landed awkwardly and went down. 

Dix had a broken tibia and fibula in his right leg — the same injury that the NBA’s Paul George suffered in 2014.

 

But Iowa didn’t rescind its scholarship offer following Dix’s injury. Dix had surgery one day after his injury and began a long, grueling rehab process. 

After what head coach Fran McCaffery called a “diligent” rehab period, Dix has been a full participant in all team practice activities since Sept. 1.

Related: Iowa men’s basketball freshmen Josh Dix, Dasonte Bowen detail progression

“I’m really impressed with him,” McCaffery said during Iowa Men’s Basketball Media Day on Oct. 5. “I mean, the kid, we all saw how horrific an injury he had, not that many people come back that quickly … On Sept. 1, he started going 5-on-5 and he hasn’t missed one minute of practice since.”

McCaffery said while Dix was in Iowa City for the Hawkeyes’ summer workout period in June and July, he was not cleared to participate in team drills at the time. 

Instead, Dix worked individually with now-retired assistant coach Kirk Speraw as his teammates went through normal practice activities. 

“[The summer] was a lot of watching practice, but it was also a lot of working with coach Speraw,” Dix said. “He was helping me get used to how they play but also helping me progress with my leg. So, I was doing a lot of running and trying to get back in shape. [I was] on the [stationary] bike a lot.”

Dix said he struggled mentally when he was not playing with the rest of the Hawkeyes during the summer sessions, but he hasn’t had any reservations about getting back on the court.

His biggest focus this fall has been making up for the time he lost because of the injury. 

“I haven’t really been thinking about my leg when I’ve been out there,” Dix said. “I’ve just been focused on the game. But just adapting to the physicality and speed of the game, because I didn’t really get that summer period to do it. Adapting to that before fall practice actually started was a big mental thing I had to do.”

McCaffery said during the first weeks of practice, Dix has had some days where he’s been “absolutely spectacular” and some where he’s “clearly learning.”

Dix said he’s been mainly working at the shooting guard and small forward positions during fall practice. McCaffery said Dix could see time as a guard in big lineups and a forward when the Hawkeyes decide to play small-ball.

Dix isn’t back to 100 percent yet, but teammate Tony Perkins said the 6-foot-5, 192-pound freshman has shown he can be a valuable member of Iowa’s roster this season.

“He’s not fully 100 percent, but since he’s been practicing, he’s been good,” Perkins said. “Knocking down shots, getting to the rim, defending well, rebounding, so he’s shown a lot. He’s shown a lot not to be at 100 percent yet.”

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