Johns Hopkins has no plan to redshirt Phil Castronova or hasten his return

Phil Castronova, who tore his left Achilles tendon during pre-game warm-ups before Johns Hopkins’ annual rivalry game with Loyola on April 27, is expected to return in time for next season.

Coach Dave Pietramala said the university’s doctors and trainers have assured him and the junior short-stick defensive midfielder that he should be able to rehabilitate his leg and be ready to play in 2014.

“Our medical staff has told us that he will be available to us full go and healthy – barring any major setbacks – for the spring,” Pietramala said. “He’s already in rehab. We wasted no time there.”

Castronova, who sat out the 2012 season because of a severe knee injury, scored four goals, scooped up 22 ground balls, and caused three turnovers this past season, and he is a key cog in the Blue Jays’ transition game. But Pietramala said the team will not accelerate Castronova’s return.

“I think that would be a mistake on our part,” Pietramala said. “We want him to be at 100 percent and ease him back into it so that we don’t have any repercussions from the injury. It’s the same injury that [former midfielder] Mark Goodrich had, and we handled him the exact same way, and he came back without any issues. I don’t believe Mark missed a practice due to that injury in his senior year.”

With that in mind, Pietramala said Castronova will not participate in fall workouts. That may not help a defense that must replace a pair of starting defensemen in Tucker Durkin – the two-tome Outstanding Defensive Player – and Chris Lightner and a starting goalkeeper in Pierce Bassett, but Castronova’s absence will permit some other guys on the roster to prove that they can fill the void.

“He won’t return in the fall,” Pietramala said. “It’s just not conceivable that he’ll be ready. Quite frankly, like we did with his knee – which was never an issue this year – we held Phil out for the fall. He’s a guy with plenty of experience. He’s got a redshirt year, which is great because we’ll have him for an extra year. But we’ll hold him out in the fall, which will give a guy like [junior] James Malm a lot of responsibility. It’ll allow a young guy like [freshman] Kelton Black – who we think can be a pretty solid defensive midfielder – to get an opportunity to get a bunch of reps and step up. It will give a guy like [freshman] Derrick Kihembo a chance to get some more reps.”

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