Nelson, going into his fifth season at Bethel, said Hampton City Schools officials informed him they cannot accommodate his restrictions. Nelson has been told by his doctors that he cannot work more than two hours five days a week, but he's hoping that will be loosened at his next appointment on Aug. 23.
"It was a blow to me," he said. "I found out about 1 o'clock (Monday) just as I was headed over there. This is what I've been working for, to get back coaching the kids. And it was all shot down.
"Hopefully, something will get worked out. The doctor said it will be a while before I can get out there and demonstrate, but I could get out there in a golf cart and evaluate. It's tough right now. I know this is a temporary hit, but to not be out there the first day it's frustrating."
Bethel principal John Bailey understands Nelson's feelings but expressed concern about his safety.
"I'd love to have him back today -- I'd love to have had him back a couple of weeks ago," Bailey said. "I can't speak for the school division, but a person's health and safety has to be the number one priority. He's had a tough year, but I'd hate to see him push it and go out there too early.
"Jeff knows he's our head coach, and we want him to be our head coach for many, many years. But we want him to be healthy. I explained to him the other day, you had major surgeries and you need to take it easy."
In a game against Menchville last Oct. 23, Nelson was standing on the sideline when players from both teams crashed into him. His anterior, posterior and lateral collateral ligaments were all torn. The peroneal nerve, which supplies movement to the lower leg, was ruptured.
Though he's able to stand for minutes at a time now, back pain has become an issue. Nelson has obtained a golf cart to use during practices, which he hopes will convince school officials he won't be a safety risk.