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Calvin Bundage's road to recovery

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Oklahoma State linebacker Calvin Bundage judos and tackles Oklahoma's Marquise Brown as the Cowboys took one Oklahoma in Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. 

Oklahoma State linebacker Calvin Bundage is ready to play alongside his teammates after returning from a back injury that derailed his entire 2019 senior season.

Originally, coach Mike Gundy said Bundage would not require surgery. After Wednesday’s practice, Bundage said he did in fact have back surgery.

“Everybody was telling me it was a big deal, you shouldn’t play football, but I went to a great doctor and he fixed it,” Bundage said. “People shy away from back surgery but I guess mine turned out decent.”

Bundage said he saw seven or eight doctors before finally having his surgery. Now he’s hoping to have an impactful final season for the Cowboys.

“I had been battling adversity trying to get back out on the field . . . It feels good to put everything to rest,” Bundage said. “I feel great physically. I feel like how I came in freshman year, totally healthy.”

Back surgery is typically difficult to come back from, but teammate Cameron Murray said Bundage is moving around fluidly and is taking charge in the locker room.

“Him getting back and seeing him move around at fall camp is a great sight to see. You can tell he's in great shape now,” Murray said. “He brings a different type of mentality to the defense. It makes a big difference for us.”

Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles knows Bundage’s injury was a major setback, but he’s impressed by his mindset and is excited for what he can bring to the defense.

“It's like anything in life, when (football) gets taken away from you, you really appreciate it more. Calvin is just more locked in then he's ever been,” Knowles said. “Right away we can get him coming off the edge. Him on one end, Trace (Ford) on the other. There's two serious threats.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com