Even RGIII has been advised against rushing back from an injury. After suffering ACL and PCL tears in December, he has yet to be cleared to play in Washington’s season opener.
Then, there’s Adrian Peterson’s freakish 2012 comeback of the year. Nearly breaking the all-time rushing record nine months after he grotesquely tore his knee.
The take-home message in Peterson’s comeback: it was freakish. Wonderful, inspiring, but freakish.
“For every Adrian Peterson who comes back like he has, there are lots of athletes who struggle the first year,” Andrew Pearle, orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York told USA Today. “It doesn’t mean they’re not working hard. We hope for recoveries like that. We don’t always get it.”
Sophomore linebacker, Kevin Davis is in the same boat Peterson was, and Griffin is. He tore his ACL in the Oct. 27 game against Hawaii, and had reparative surgery on Nov. 15.
“At first, it wasn’t great, obviously,” Davis says. “But I had a lot of support from my family, friends, teammates and coaching staff, so it helped me out a lot.”
Now, after spending most of the spring rehabbing and sitting on the bike while his teammates ran sprints, Davis has been alternating practices, and playing hard to get back to where he was.
“I get to work on my skills, and the next day just take a mental rest, so it’s been good,” Davis said of Coach McElwain’s system.
If he keeps improving, Davis will take his place on the line on Sept. 1, hungry to get the first sack on CU quarterback, Connor Wood.
“He’s way ahead of where we anticipated him being,” McElwain says. “We’ve got to make sure we do what’s right for Kevin, he’s just got to overcome that mental part of it.”
Before he went down, Davis recorded 23 tackles, and one pass break-up for the Rams over eight games.
Davis wants to make his comeback at the Rocky Mountain Showdown more than anyone else; it’s one of the biggest games of the season.
“It would mean a lot, coming back from a big injury like that,” Davis says. “It’s a huge game, so that would be really motivating for me.”
Davis has the entire team’s support behind him as he continues to improve. He was able to keep pace with them as they ran drills in Wednesday morning’s practice.
“Kevin Davis is like a horse,” says senior defensive lineman, Eli Edwards. “He wants to be back on the field as much as possible, he’s just ready to go.”
Besides physical strength, making a comeback from any injury, but especially one as delicate as ACL or MCL involves a huge mental toughness. Davis could have allowed his injury to devastate not only the remainder of his freshman season, but his entire college career. Instead, he’s done the opposite.
“I feel good now, just taking it day by day progressing a lot, and just trying to get better,” Davis said.
“Watching him, I think he’s more than ready,” Edwards adds. “He’s like a whole new Kevin Davis, as long as he’s got the right mentality, he’s got the physicality.”