By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. -- When Steve Marino arrived for the U.S. Open, it marked just his second start in four months following complications from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
“In hindsight, maybe I wasn’t ready for that kind of test,” he said of hilly Olympic Club.
Though Marino said his surgically repaired knee doesn’t feel like the other one -- “It's maybe not quite as strong as the other one,” he added -- he doesn’t feel much pain now.
After all that downtime, he’s also ready to play.
“I watched a lot of TV,” Marino said. “I think I've seen every movie that's ever been made.”
Marino originally underwent surgery last October. When he returned at the Sony Open in Hawaii this past January, he played just nine holes of the pro-am because his knee swelled up with fluid.
“I couldn’t even squat down to read my putts,” Marino recalled.
He played the next two weeks, but the knee never got better and Marino was forced to shut it down because of a bone contusion on the tip of his tibia and femur as well as avascular necrosis, which prevented blood flow to the inured area.
“Basically, my bone was dying,” Marino said. “I couldn't walk without pain for nine holes, let alone 72 holes. I knew probably the first month or so into it that it was going to be a long process.”
So too will Marino’s return to form. He’s missed each of his first three cuts since returning from the injury, which included shooting an 84 in the opening round of the U.S. Open.
A return trip to Congressional could help.
Marino grew up in suburban Washington D.C., and as he recalled from 2008 had one of the rowdiest galleries of the week, and with good reason -- he led after an opening-round 65 that year.
“It can be kind of crazy,” Marino said. “I'm excited to have a bunch of my friends from high school and college to come out and watch, especially my family. It's just a fun week.”
If Marino plays well, it could be a fun weekend, too.