Improbable but not impossible.
That was the prognosis for Florida Gators senior linebacker Antonio Morrison when doctors looked at his left knee in the Birmingham Bowl. Morrison went in for a seemingly innocent tackle but couldn’t get up off the turf.
“It’s part of the game,” Antonio Morrison Sr. said. “You don’t want to see anybody go through it but once we got in the locker room, doctor’s looked at him and we were already on to rehab, getting over it, getting back, leading his team, you know, next year. It started that day.”
Morrison dedicated himself to his rehab; he had gone through a similar rehab after tearing a meniscus earlier in his career and knew what the process would take. Morrison spent countless hours in rehab and essentially cut the rehabilitation in half.
“What normally was a 10 to 12-month recovery, he did in six months. We’ve had the doctor in a bunch, probably more so for me not believing him,” McElwain said of Morrison’s recovery. “And yet the strength levels, all the tests, believe it or not it’s actually tighter than the other one. Again, that’s a credit to him and what he did in the offseason to prepare himself to help this football team.”
Morrison’s recovery time surprised McElwain and surprised fans when the injured linebacker’s name was atop the depth chart. All off season, Gator Country had been told that Morrison would be back sooner than most expected, but most expected that he would be back sometime in late October, hopefully for the Georgia game.
“It’s truly amazing. If you ever see that guy in the rehab facility he’s just going 110 percent every time,” senior Jake McGee said. “I don’t know how he did it, honestly. But we have a great athletic training staff and that guy is going to be a key leader for us as he was in the past.”
Morrison has been a leader by example throughout his time at Florida. While he’s been away going through this rehabilitation, he’s taken on more of a vocal leadership role.
“Our rehab overlapped a little bit,” redshirt senior Jake McGee said. “That’s someone who loves the game of football and loves his team. So it’s exciting to see that he’s been good to go, I mean you really wouldn’t see a different Antonio if you’ve seen all of his practices. I’m sure on Saturday you will see the same Antonio Morrison that you saw last season.”