NORMAN — Growing up, Ryan Reynolds never was particularly superstitious. But after a nightmarish run of bad luck comprising knee injury after knee injury after knee injury, Oklahoma’s senior middle linebacker is open to anything short of wedging a rabbit’s foot into his facemask.
With hopes of reversing his karma, Reynolds already has changed his jersey number from No. 8 to No. 4. "No. 4 was my high school number,” he said. "I’m hoping it’s going to bring me better luck. I don’t want any more surgeries coming my way.” Reynolds’ most recent setback came in the third quarter of last year’s Red River Shootout when he tore his ACL, requiring season-ending surgery. But, as with the first two, Reynolds overcame his latest knee injury and has been cleared for some time to participate in all practice drills. "The guys have a great deal of respect for him, what he’s gone though,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. "The toughness he exemplifies is what you want all of your guys to be about.” OU’s tough guy spoke with The Oklahoman about his third grueling rehab, and why he believes this comeback will be smoother than those of the past. → How great is it to finally be back on the practice field? Reynolds: "It’s awesome, just actually feeling part of the team again rather than having to watch from a distance. To be part of it again is awesome.” →How is the knee? "I’m pretty close to 100 percent. I felt real good during the summer. I was still rusty (the first day of practice) just with the football movement. I’m sure it will take a couple days just to get my legs underneath me again. But I feel great.” →This being your third recovery, you knew the drill.
MORE FROM NEWSOK
Ryan Reynolds’ three knee injuries:→ 2006: Rips anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while chasing down a receiver in 7-on-7 drills during the summer. →2007: Severs lateral collateral ligament in his right knee in a pile during spring practice. →2008: Tears anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the third quarter against Texas; with Reynolds out, Longhorn offense scores on four straight possessions to rally for a victory.