STILLWATER — On the first play of the second game of his Oklahoma State football career, Lucien Antoine hurt his knee. Nothing serious, he thought as he hobbled to the sideline. Surely the trainers would put a brace on it and he’d be back on the field.
Six months later, he’s finally back on the field — on a limited basis — in OSU’s spring practice after undergoing surgery to repair the ACL he tore that day.
"I got up and walked off the field,” said Antoine, a transfer from Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College who began playing football as a high school senior after his family moved to Florida from Haiti. "They checked it out and told me I was out for the game. Then they said I would need surgery. I was surprised it was that bad.
"In a couple seconds the whole season was over for me. I had never been hurt like that before.”
For that reason, the senior free safety found the mental part of rehabilitation to be far more challenging than the physical.
"I wanted to get back so bad that I was doing whatever it took,” he said. "Mentally, you wake up every day and go to practice, but you can’t practice. That was hard.”
While that can take a toll on some players during rehabilitation for a major injury, Antoine never drew such concern from the coaching staff.
"He’s never had anything given to him. He’s had to work for everything,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said.