thout them or the facilities here, I wouldn’t have. The doctors have been here so long, they know exact procedures to get you back on the field. Also, the coaches have instilled it in us how to be tough. Of course, it was painful when I came back. But it wasn’t too painful where I didn’t think I couldn’t play.”
Did it get to a point with the back where you thought, ‘I can’t tolerate it anymore?’
"It was just one of those bad weeks; it escalated to the point where I couldn’t take it no more. Doctors said I needed surgery to correct it. It came out for the best.”
Did you think there was a chance your playing career was over at that point?
"At a point, during this rehab, it was a little frustrating because I had never been seriously hurt before. It was just frustrating because I’m used to doing everything full-go. But I had to learn to be patient. It came slow, but it came along.”
So you have no pain now in your back?
Was there something that prompted the pain that required the back surgery?
"No, there was nothing they could pinpoint it to. It could’ve been anything. It started out as the same pain that came and went. I never missed a game before; it was manageable. But it was one of those days where it wouldn’t go away. It wasn’t like the foot at all. They strongly advise me to have surgery and it helped me then, and in the long run.”
Playing through injury all year, how tough was it to watch the national title game from the sidelines?
"At that point, I was looking at the bright side. I mean, I was walking. The surgery could’ve gone wrong. I could’ve been paralyzed. But I had the chance to come back. I had the chance to go with the team to Miami. I got out of the hospital two days before we got on the plane. So, they put me on crutches, and coach Stoops allowed me to come even though I couldn’t do anything. I was just happy to be there and not be sitting at home watching it.”