AMES — Mitchell Meyers turned 22-years-old today.
The inspirational Iowa State defensive lineman did so back home in the Houston metropolitan area, as he continues to be treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“Had a conversation this morning — and brief,” Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads said Wednesday after practice. “He’s real excited to join us in Waco (for the Baylor game). He and his dad and brother are coming up to the game.”
Meyers has impressed coaches and teammates alike with his attitude and moxie while undergoing chemotherapy — even as more was added than expected.
Rhoads said he’s hopeful that Meyers can be back in school in January, but added that it depends on the treatment process.
“He’s lost his hair in the process of this batch of chemo,” Rhoads said. “He’s just really anxious to be around his teammates. We had a celebration on the field for him in his absence.”
Rhoads said he speaks with Meyers on a weekly basis.
“He’s extremely brave,” Rhoads said. “He’s very mature and he’s become quite intelligent about what he’s going through. At the same time, he knows he’s in the hands of the Lord and the doctors and the medical team that are working on him. He’s ready for an answer. He’s ready for a bit more definitive spot about where he’s at and so are we.”
Rhoads said the NCAA granted Meyers waivers for Cyclone home games, so the junior from The Woodlands, Texas could return a few times as the season winds down — and as his treatment regimen permits.
“His plan is to be here for the Texas game and the Oklahoma State game,” Rhoads said.
Upon being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Meyers vowed to play again.
Throughout treatment, he’s shown the same degree of resolve each step of the way, just as Rhoads expected.
“That first day was hard,” Rhoads said. “When he got the news, it was hard. He quickly responded and that’s why he attacked it so well. The second batch of news was harder, because he thought everything had been done and he was ready to put that thing in the rear view mirror. Now there’s unknown, so he’s fighting and waiting and the longer that goes, the harder it is on anybody.”
Rhoads also provided mid-week progress reports for Jhaustin Thomas (DE), Mike Warren (RB) and Daniel Burton (OG).
Thomas, Rhoads said, has practiced some this week and will travel to Waco. It’s uncertain how much he’ll be able to play after sitting out the TCU game with a leg inury. “He won’t be 100 percent,” Rhoads added.
Warren, who’s on pace to become ISU’s first 1,000 yard rusher since Alexander Robinson in 2009, has taken all his practice reps this week.
“He’s full-go,” Rhoads said.
Burton’s injury proved far less serious than was feared after the TCU loss. Rhoads said he’s practiced all week and is expected to play against the Bears.
“Daniel’s actual problem — biggest problem — coming out of the game was he got stepped on,” Rhoads said. “And he’s had to have a toe drained of blood three times. Toe. Toes hurt. After he got the pressure released he’s been good and he’s practiced all week. Daniel’s tough as nails.”
“Not toenails,” Rhoads added. “Just nails.”