'It's on my doorstep'; former Bison Gindorff nearing comeback from second ankle surgery
The former North Dakota State tight end participated in Pro Day earlier this week.
FARGO - Noah Gindorff was anticipating this period of time in his life to be as stressful as possible.
There's a sense of stress, but it's not about where and what NFL team is interested in the former North Dakota State standout tight end. Now it's the stress level of getting healthy before the NFL Draft.
"We had a day this fall when (Senior Bowl Executive Director) Jim Nagy came to Fargo to hand out Senior Bowl invites. He messaged me and said 'you had one with your name on it if you didn't go down.' It almost makes you feel better, but it doesn't, it's just another thing you're missing out on, something you've dreamed about and had it taken away." Gindorff said earlier this week.
The 6-foot-6, 266 pound tight end was hoping to be traveling across the country, visiting with NFL teams, and dreaming about one of them selecting him in the upcoming draft. All those plans came to an end last September, when Gindorff had a second surgery on his broken right ankle, which caused him to miss most of the 2022 season.
Gindorff had been dealing with recurring pain in his ankle after he had surgery on it in December of 2021. By June of 2022, Gindorff was worried that the pain had not gone away. He rested as the Bison began fall camp to give himself some more recovery time, but it still didn't feel right.
Gindorff got an MRI on his ankle before the season opener and suited up against Drake, finding the endzone for the first time since November of 2021. But when doctors looked over the MRI, Gindorff got some grim news. He would need surgery again.
"I asked the doctors, can I play more one game? And they said sure, because I really wanted to play that game against Arizona." Gindorff said.
He went out and caught three passes for 30 yards that night in Tucson and was in surgery a few days later. "The doctor told me I won't know what's wrong until I can stick a camera in there. You may be out two weeks, could be six weeks, could be six months.
Woke up from surgery and they told me, you're done. That was tough, initial injury was tough, but I had the extra year to fall back on. To have this happen again, I threw myself a pity party for a little bit."
Gindorff said he considered asking for a medical hardship year from the NCAA and return to NDSU for a seventh season, but said if the injury happens again, there was a higher chance he could hurt his ankle again. His age, at 24, is considered be old in some draft circles.
Gindorff burst on the scene during his sophomore season in 2019 for the Bison. His first five receptions all went for touchdowns. He finished his NDSU career with 53 catches for 522 yards and 12 touchdowns. His size and hands are automatic to get on the NFL radar, but his ability to block is what really has the NFL scouts intrigued.
He went to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis earlier this month and went thru a barrage of medical tests on his ankle. He did get to talk some football with the scouts and general managers when he was there though.
"Meeting with the tight ends coaches, we were able to go thru an install and draw up some plays at NDSU. Demonstrate my football knowledge, which is one of my strengths."
Gindorff did the bench press during NDSU's Pro Day and had 20 reps, which was up from the 16 he did in Indianapolis at the Combine. He wasn't able to do any of the on the field drills, but is scheduled to have his own Pro Day on April 13 at NDSU.
Gindorff showed off his strength and added 4 reps to his bench from the NFL Combine. @noahgindorff | #NDSUProDay pic.twitter.com/qVQMxEdt9R— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) March 30, 2023
This isn't how Gindorff was anticipating how the story would be written for him. But things may work out for him in the end.
"Coming out of this on the other side I'm tougher because of it. I'm ready for everything, maybe I'm not where I want to be but as a kid you're looking ahead, I'm exactly where I want to be. I got to the NFL Combine I have a shot at being drafted.
As a kid, it seemed like a dream, now it's on my doorstep."