ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF))–It takes hard work and determination to become a great athlete. That goes double or probably triple for someone who has overcome two major injuries as Auburn senior guard Robert Chaney has. We feature Chaney in our “Overtime” spotlight segment.

You’d never know it from the way Chaney throws his body around on the court, diving for loose balls or going hard to the basket, but he’s had two torn ACL’s in his left knee. The first one happened in the summer before his sophomore season. The second one happened his junior year, just two games into the season. Through it all he never flinched. Not even after the second tear.

“He didn’t act devastated after the second injury. I know he was,” said Auburn head coach Bryan Ott. “That was a pretty bitter pill to swallow. I know that, but he was resolved to get right back to work.”

“The second time I just knew that I would have to go harder during rehab,” said Chaney. “I really wasn’t down about it. My brother tore his ACL too the game before that, so I was like I could do rehab with him and try to push him through it.”

“He took the bull by the horns as far as the work that was going to be put in all over again and leading his brother along the way,” said Ott.

Rehab became a big part of Chaney’s life.

“Rehab is four days a week. I’m in there for about an hour and a half stretching, ice at the end, but I’m on the bike for ten minutes, and then I’m doing strength work the rest of the time.”  “I’ve seen my progress every week, so that’s what pushed me.”

Chaney is one of four Auburn Knights who are averaging around ten or 11 points per game. Like most Auburn players, he’s great at the up-tempo game. So were there ever any doubts in his mind about whether or not he could come back and play at a high level?

“No because I knew all the work I put in.”

Ott doesn’t feel like he has to be cautious with Chaney’s knee. “We don’t limit his minutes at all. I do have to tell myself, discipline myself, to take him out toward the end of quarters and stuff like that, the first quarter, third quarter, try to give him a blow to get some time off of it. He certainly is permitted to take himself out of drills whenever he feels like it’s needed. That’s happened really, really rarely.”

Chaney had one of his best games Friday night, January 21 when he scored 27 points in a home win against Hononegah.

Chaney’s value to the Knights goes beyond his athletic ability, his scoring and his defense. He’s also the team captain. He takes that leadership role seriously.
“Every team needs a leader to carry them when we’re down or we’re out and we need that leadership. I think I’m the leader of this team. I’ve been around coach Ott for four years, so that’s what he expects of me to be a leader of this team.”

“He pretty much leads by example,” said Ott. “Hard work, but he’s an easy guy to follow in that respect.”

“Rob’s a really good student, and he’s a gentleman in all of his classes with all of his teachers as you might expect. Extremely well-raised.”

Yeas, it’s been a rocky, few years for Chaney, but with him playing well and the Knights playing well, his Auburn career could have a storybook ending.

“I want to win conference for sure, and I want to go far in the playoffs.”

“Rob is just one of those kids you root for,” said Ott. “He’s done everything the right way here ever since he’s been here, so I’m really, really, happy for him.”

As of Saturday, January 22, the Knights were leading the NIC-10 with a 10-0 conference record.