Josh Kendall

Zack Bailey confident he’ll bounce back from broken leg

Two weeks after suffering what he calls “the best injury that could have happened,” South Carolina offensive lineman Zack Bailey is remarkably upbeat about his recovery.

“It’s been wonderful,” Bailey said Tuesday during a ceremony to recognize Gamecocks athletes who graduated this semester. “The coaches have done everything they can to make it easy for me.”

Bailey, a senior guard, suffered a broken fibula in the third quarter of the final regular season game of the season, against Akron on Dec. 1. He wore a cast and got around with the help of a cart during Tuesday’s ceremony, but he expects to be full speed in time for the NFL combine in February, he said.

“I should be good to go, 100 percent by then and back good as new,” Bailey said.

He planned to attend the Belk Bowl and the bowl game activities with the Gamecocks, he said.

“I want to see my brothers out there, hopefully getting the W,” he said.

Bailey started 38 games at South Carolina. When he was injured on Dec. 1, it looked like his last start might be a costly one. He was taken off the field on a cart and worried that the injury could be much more significant.

“When it happened, I didn’t know what was going on,” Bailey said. “I knew when I went down, it wasn’t good, but when we got back to the X-ray room and we did the X-ray, the injury turned out to be the best injury that could have happened. I was excited for that.”

Bailey had surgery on Dec. 2 and hopes to be training at full speed by the middle of the January. This week, he became the first person in his family to earn a college degree.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “My family coming in and seeing them and having a wonderful time, me working so hard through these past three-and-a-half years has been really amazing.”