TWIN FALLS, ID (KMVT) -- He'll never forget the date: December 1st.
It was supposed to be the perfect chance for Jon Pulsifer to shine on his home court in front of his home crowd.The air was just changing into a crisp winter haze outside, but what happened inside on the court brought about the biggest change of the season.
"What happened to me? Why?" Pulsifer said.
How could the former Twin Falls high school star feel a pop that seemed to make time stop?
"It was the worst pain I've ever felt," Pulsifer said. "It just felt like my leg was coming off."
"Jon's so tough that I knew [from] the look in his eyes when I saw him -- I knew it was something wrong," CSI men's basketball head coach Steve Gosar said. "I just got a sick feeling in my stomach, and I wished for the best, and unfortunately that wasn't the case."
The reaction from bystanders in the gym was just as palpable. "When I saw it I thought, 'Oh here's another ACL,’" said Wright Physical Therapist Tyler Billings. "I was getting texts from people saying 'Oh no, looks like an ACL, what do you think?’ I was like, 'Yeah, I think it's an ACL.'”
In fact, the injury threw everyone off. Unlike the more common ligament tears suffered by elite athletes like Derrick Rose and Adrian Petersen, Jon Pulsifer was an athletic anomaly. He tore the cartilage in his knee along with his meniscus, and the recovery time for this type of injury rivaled that of an ACL incident.
"I just remember going to the locker room and throwing everything that I could—even my crutches," Pulsifer said. "The first couple of weeks after I got hurt— the first couple of days, [I was] just lying around thinking, 'I don't know what I'm gonna do. What's happening?’ I didn't get any sleep. I stayed up till 7, 6 o'clock in the morning just thinking," he said.
"I got a lot of support, a lot of texts, a lot of phone calls and to tell you the truth, I didn't answer them," he said. "I just wanted to be alone."
For a kid who had always been vocal on and off the court, all of the sudden it seemed like his voice and spirit were trapped.
"I was in kind of a dark place for a little bit, not talking to anyone, not doing what I wanted to do,” Jon admitted. “It sucks, cause I never thought I wanted to be like that."
But misery and anger soon gave way to a brighter emotion fueled by the competitive spirit that never quite seems to leave a true athlete, no matter the circumstances.
"I knew I had to get back out, and I knew that there's hope—there's always going to be hope."