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Lakeside's Timonere progressing after suffering knee injury in the fall

Mar. 21—It wasn't supposed to be this way for Jimmy Timonere.

The Lakeside senior entered the 2023-24 school year with high hopes and high expectations in football and basketball.

Timonere, a 6-foot-3, 191-pound receiver, was an integral part of the Dragons' football team advancing to the postseason in 2022.

He had 30 receptions for 458 yards and five touchdowns last season as a junior.

Timonere was also a participant on the Lake Erie Defenders, a 17-U basketball team comprised of players from Ashtabula and Lake counties, that finished the 2023 season with a 27-7 mark.

But as with the case of athletics, things happen.

During Lakeside's second football game vs. Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin on Aug. 25, a wildcat play was run in the opening quarter.

"I tried to plant, felt a pop and my knee buckled," Timonere said.

Timonere found out he had completely torn his ACL and partially tore his meniscus.

"When I first saw the diagnosis, I didn't think it was right," he said. "When I first got injured, I thought I'd miss a couple of weeks. When I realized what happened, it was disappointing."

Timonere's football and basketball seasons were finished. He had surgery in October.

"I tried to look forward to my future and not get down on myself," he said. "I'm staying in shape so I can come back even better."

One person who knows of Timonere's plight is his dad, Jim, who suffered a similar injury in his senior football season at Saint John.

"I couldn't be more proud of the way he has handled this," Jim Timonere said. "It was devastating to me and to see how he coped taught me a lot. There are still times I catch myself choking up about all he missed."

During his time off, Timonere stayed involved with his football teammates.

"We had a lot of young guys who were asking a lot of questions," he said. "I tried to help the guys the best I could."

Jim Timonere is proud his son still stayed involved in athletics.

"He worked hard for this year and the fact he still went to every practice and to every game speaks to his character," Jim Timonere said.

Buzz Edwards, who coached Jimmy Timonere in football at Lakeside, is extremely proud of him.

"Coming back from major surgery is not easy for anyone," Edwards said. "For him to battle through his injury and go through his recovery process and be there just about every day for his teammates during football season and basketball season just shows what type of character he has."

Five and a half months later, Timonere has made significant progress in his recovery.

He's been cleared to do sprints, stops and some cutting under supervision and no contact.

If all continues to trend upward, Timonere is expected to be fully cleared in the next month or two.

Timonere's motivation to return is his desire to play collegiately. He announced his decision to attend Baldwin Wallace College for school and play football in February.

He's scheduled to go to BW's spring practice on Monday.

"It started in the summer," Timonere said of decision to attend BW. "I went for a visit and like it a lot. After the injury, other schools shied away, but I had no doubt I would be back. I went back and realized it felt like home."

Timonere is slated to play for the Yellow Jackets, a Division III school located in Berea, Ohio and in the Ohio Athletic Conference, and major in sports management.

"He set his goal to play in college and he's on his way," Jim Timonere said. "Jimmy goes to PT [physical therapy] and to a trainer and he's working really hard to be ready."

Jimmy Timonere played football, basketball and baseball growing up, but gave up baseball.

"I just lost my love for baseball," he said.

Timonere became more involved in football and basketball. He enjoyed the postseason games, especially in football.

"Coach Edwards had us in the weight room," he said. "All the coaches stayed on us with agility, strength and speed. It was another week of football. It was good to get that experience."

Initially disappointed with the injury and aftermath, Timonere has been focusing on the future, and trying to help BW, which went 6-4 overall (6-3 in the OAC), unseat conference and national power Mount Union.

He is scheduled to report to BW in August.

"It hit me, it's over and now I'm preparing for the next level," Timonere said. "I'm preparing to get back on the field."

Jim Timonere will also be ready when that time arrives.

"I can't wait to see him back on the field," he said. "I know every dad feels this way, but he just has such a feel for the game. He's fun to watch."

Edwards believes BW is getting a quality student-athlete.

"He's a great player and even better person," Edwards said. "BW is getting a steal ... he's a helluva kid and ball player. Can't wait to watch him play at the next level."