Redshirt junior guard Jessica Johnson recently sat down with the Charlotte 49ers athletic media relations office to discuss her summer and her progression of returning this season from a knee injury last year. She suffered the injury in preseason and was forced to miss the entire campaign.

Unfortunately, you missed all of last season due to injury. As you were about to come back, it happened again. How is the rehab from your knee injury going? It's great. I've come a long way from where I was before. It's taken a lot of time and effort to get it to the point it is now. Hopefully, I'll be running and jumping soon.

Other than rehab, what are you doing this summer? I've been getting up shots, working on my form and hopefully coming back as a shooter, more than just a slasher, this year. I've also been lifting, lifting with the team and working out, although I can't necessarily do all the lifts. I can't run with them but I'm there for everything we do.

As you become a redshirt junior this season, what are you doing to take more of a leadership role on the team? Right now, because I can't lead by example considering I'm lacking some mobility, I try to be more outspoken on things I can help them with. For example, some mental things like when they get tired and want to shut down, I am there to encourage and pick them up. I know I can't run and show them how to fight through it, all I can do is coach them through it.

With most of the team around this summer, how was the team bonded together? We are always together. This entire summer has been nothing but bonding. We've spent quality time getting to know each other's ins and outs and what makes each other tick and tock. It's a fun experience, getting to know new people and developing that sisterhood, the bond between each other.

What did you learn from sitting out last season and not being able to play? I learned there's a lot of things we need to improve on as a team, as far as maturity. But, I think we are reaching that point this year. We have accepted the change and now, making it happen. We have a great coach and want to make her proud.

Are you taking any summer classes? I am taking The Rivers of Catawba. It's an American Studies course for my minor. It's writing intensive, with an oral component.

What is your major and why did you pick it? Sociology. It was more interesting to me than psychology. Those were the two I was choosing between. Sociology I understood better.

What are you doing the rest of the summer? Pretty much rehabbing and getting my leg stronger. I'm hoping to prepare for the season soon and start working on some drills over the next couple weeks.