Chris Lindley is finally playing competitive basketball at Kansas University. But it's in Robinson Gym, not Allen Fieldhouse.
Lindley, a former KU basketball signee who lost a foot in an accident, plays for an intramural team.
"I enjoy the game of basketball and will always have a love for the game of basketball," Lindley said. "I am very fortunate and thank God I can still play, but at the same time I enjoy basketball without playing at a highly competitive level."
The 6-foot-9, 255-pounder plays with a prosthesis called a Flex-Foot. He's averaging 24 points and 12 rebounds for The Aerial Display.
Lindley returned to KU this fall after spending a year at Johnson County CC and another at Missouri-Kansas City.
"I've been around the horn," Lindley, now 22, said. "I was going to play for Johnson County, but I kind of got burned out. If I had pursued playing college basketball, it wouldn't have been fair to myself. I wouldn't have gotten to the level of my potential before the accident."
Once Lindley accepted that fact, it made his life easier.
"I realized that the ball stops bouncing for everybody," he said. "The ball even stopped bouncing for Michael Jordan."
Lindley and Jevon Crudup, who later played at Missouri, were teammates at Raytown South in suburban Kansas City, Mo.
In the fall of 1989, Lindley signed a national basketball letter of intent with Kansas. Then on Jan. 6, 1990, his right foot was run over by a train and amputated. His left foot was also damaged. The Achilles tendon was severed.
Nine months later, he was fitted for the prosthesis and enrolled at KU on an institutional scholarship.
"Coming to KU was difficult and people at KU can relate. I lived in the (Jayhawker) Towers, but I had a bus pass. Even though I had a pass, I still had a lot of walking to do," Lindley said. "I had friends, but I wasn't completely ready. Such a devastating thing takes time to get over."
Now Lindley is back attending classes on Mount Oread.
"I wanted to take it easy before I came back," Lindley said. "When I decided to come back and reapply, I called coach (Roy) Williams and I'm grateful for him letting me continue my education and return from my hiatus."
Lindley, who is majoring in advertising with a minor in Spanish, expects to graduate next year. He also works in the KU athletic promotions department.
"I always wanted to have a college degree and that was my ultimate goal," Lindley said. "I may have had a chance to go on and play basketball, but to be honest, I treasure having an education like I originally planned."
Adversity, Lindley believes, has matured him.
"When something that tragic happens, it makes you grow up," he said. "Sometimes I look in the mirror and don't see myself. I can't believe something like that happened to me. I've got in a state where I'm calm, focused and getting things done."