Dylan Grossell is used to being in the middle of the action, no matter the time of year.
The Pahrump Valley High School senior has played key roles on three teams. He was last year’s Class 3A Southern Region champion at 138 pounds in wrestling, he hit .342 and was an “on-base machine” in the words of Trojans baseball coach Brian Hayes, and he was named the football team’s defensive Most Valuable Player.
So being forced to watch from the sidelines as teammates compete while he recovers from an injury might not be a personal hell for Grossell, but it’s close.
“It’s definitely hard because I miss it and I don’t like watching it when other people get to do it and I don’t,” he said of watching his teammates wrestle. “I’m always used to being in all the fun with everyone, hanging out with all the guys and getting to go to wrestling practice and everything. But sometimes you’ve got to do what’s best for the team and wait it out until it’s 100 percent.”
That’s not something he did during football season. The injury to his shoulder came early in the year, but it was first thought to be a bone bruise, and Grossell played through the pain.
“I think it was like the third week of football,” he recalled Dec. 15 as he sat in the bleachers between matches at the Patriot Duals at Liberty High School in Henderson. “I knew that something wasn’t right, but I wanted to do what was best for the team, so I just sucked it up for the rest of the season and kept going.”
He kept going to the tune of a team-leading 55 tackles along with a sack and an interception as an undersized linebacker, leading to that MVP award. But the pain didn’t go away.
“With sudden movements or lifting it over my head there were sharp pains,” Grossell said. “I just figured it was a deep bone bruise or something. Then I fell on it wrong during wrestling practice and I couldn’t lift it at all … I heard like a crack or a pop and knew that there was something even more wrong.”
What was more wrong was diagnosed as a greater tuberosity of the humerus fracture, and perhaps Grossell is fortunate his football activity involved far more tackling than being tackled. He estimated the pain to be an 8 on a 1-to-10 scale when he fell on it during wrestling practice.
“They said if I had kept going, if I had taken a couple of big hits or fell on it wrong, it would have completely shattered my humerus,” he said. “So I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.”
So wrestling season was put on hold to allow time to heal. But even everyday life was complicated by the injury.
“I couldn’t even lift it maybe 3 inches from my side,” Grossell said. “I had no strength with anything, couldn’t hold anything up.”
Grossell’s father had nothing but high praise for Pahrump Valley athletic trainer Jessie Peterson’s efforts since the injury.
“She’s been a godsend to the school, something I don’t think we’ve had in forever,” Tom Grossell said. “She’s been nothing but phenomenal. He was diagnosed the second week of football season with a deep bone bruise in his left shoulder, and it ended up being a fracture. She was spot-on with everything she has done. She was spot-on with her treatment, and she’s got a great personality. She’s awesome.”
While his teammates finished a strong third in the Patriot Duals, Grossell said he is close to ready and will make his season debut at the next available opportunity.
“I feel a lot better,” he said. “I got all my range of movement back, and I’m just trying to get my strength back. I should be ready right after Christmas break, and then I should definitely be back for the first league match Jan. 10.”
The fact he knows the date of the next Sunset League match is an indication of just how eager Grossell is to get back on the mats, but wrestling coach Craig Rieger will wait and see.
“When Dylan and his dad saw the doctor, the doctor said, ‘When it’s healed, you’ll know it and you’ll be ready to go,’ ” Rieger said. “And it’s kind of up to them. As coaches, we’re not going to push that.”
Which doesn’t mean Rieger hasn’t pictured where Grossell fits in the Trojans’ lineup.
“He’ll be at 145,” Rieger said. “Him and Isaak (Cruz) will decide who’s the number-one guy. And the other one might be as a 152-pounder. We’ll see.”
There is also the possibility senior Tristan Maughan, who has been wrestling at 160, will drop to 152. Grossell is willing to let all of that play out when he gets back on the mats.
“I don’t know,” he admitted. “I think we’re going to have some people trying to move around and if not, then I’m just going to do what I have to do to get where I need to be.”
All that’s left from his perspective is getting back in wrestling shape.
“I know I’m going to have some difficulty with the shoulder being sore and getting all the rust off from not wrestling when all of these other guys have been going to tournaments,” Grossell acknowledged. “I think I can press through it.”
The Trojans’ first match after the holiday break will be Jan. 10 at home against Sunset League rival Mojave.
Contact Sports Editor Tom Rysinski at firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter:@PVTimesSports