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Elijah Gertrude discusses redshirting and recovery from ACL injury

Freshman guard details where he’s at while Tony Bennett praises his potential.

Photo courtesy of Virginia Athletics

Ahead of the Virginia Cavaliers 2023-2024 season tipoff this coming Monday, highly touted freshman guard Elijah Gertrude will be going through the process of deciding, alongside the UVA coaching staff, whether he’ll be redshirting his first season in Charlottesville. Gertrude, a highly athletic shooting guard out of New Jersey, is coming off a torn ACL in his senior year of high school. But his status has been improving consistently of late.

“Coach Curtis, the doctors, have done a wonderful job, so the recovery has been pretty smooth,” said Gertrude at Monday’s media availability. “[I’m] just getting back up to speed, working it out. Everything is coming along pretty good.”

As for redshirting, it appears that the freshman’s only motivation for sitting this year would be medically driven. “The timetable right now is in my favor, looking pretty good,” he said when asked about whether he’d considered redshirting. “The doctors, they gave me the green light. We’re just going to go day by day. I’ve been feeling really good recently, so I just got to keep working on that.”

With the transition from high school to college and dealing with an ACL recovery at the same time, there’s been a lot on Gertrude’s plate since arriving on Grounds.

“It’s way different from high school,” he said. “[The competition] is way faster, way stronger. So, just getting used to that all while coming off an injury is a little tougher. But tough situations call for tough minds, so I got to stay strong and push through it.”

Tony Bennett holds Gertrude in high regard and highlighted his potential when asked about him on Monday.

“He shows flashes,” said Bennett. “His athleticism is real, and he’s not even quite there yet [with his recovery ongoing]. But missing a whole year of playing, he has to get his timing back and get his knee continually stronger. A promising future, very. He’s a guy who can go get his own bucket which I like. And I think he has the makings, with his quickness defensively, that he can become one of those perimeter defenders that we’re going to like a lot.”

As for redshirting Gertrude, Bennett said that “those are decisions we’ll talk about. Is he ready? What does it look like? Is it waiting a year? What’s his health? I always leave the decision up to the players if they’re in a spot like that.”

That said, Gertrude appears determined to be a contributor for this year’s squad, presuming his knee is in game shape.

“We have a great team,” he added. “The chemistry is great. Lot of new guys, new faces. It’s a lot to build on, we just got to keep stacking the bricks.”