"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" - Lao-Tzu
Far be it from me to paraphrase a famous quote from
an ancient Chinese philosopher, but for Munchie Legaux, the long journey back
began with a single throw.
On Tuesday morning, six months and four days after the gruesome knee dislocation he suffered in the second game of last season against Illinois, Legaux took part in passing drills for the first time since the injury as he continues his efforts to return to action in 2014.
"This was a huge day for me," Munchie told me. "With the injury that I had, I didn't know if I was ever going to play again. For me to come out here and even practice with my teammates - I mean, I didn't even put a helmet on for six or seven months so it felt kinda weird. I'm just happy man. I wouldn't have cared if I got one or two reps, it was just great to be there with these guys."
"Everybody was excited about him coming out here," said head coach Tommy Tuberville. "He's been out here taking snaps but they wouldn't let him throw in drills. It was good to see him a little bit mobile - he's probably about 50% of what he would have to be to be able to come out and practice and have somebody hit him, but he's come a long way in (six) months and I'm proud that he's out here. He's working hard to get back on the field."
"After witnessing what happened, it's almost a miracle to see him out here smiling and throwing with us," said wide receiver Chris Moore.
Legaux dislocated his left knee and tore parts of all four ligaments when he was hit while throwing a pass vs. the Illini. Fortunately, there was no nerve damage and Munchie began the rehab process as soon as possible with the goal of getting back on the field.
"He was never really down or sad," said Moore. "He just kept rehabbing and always had a smile on his face knowing that he would be back."
"He's doing whatever he needs to do to rehab," said Tuberville. "From six o'clock in the morning to about eight every day and then come back in the afternoon and do it again. It's hours and hours of painful rehab so I'm proud of him. He's stood up to the task and he wants to play his last year. I'm gonna tell ya, he's going to be hard to keep off the field if he keeps working like he's working."
"My next hurdle is to be able to run without a
limp," said Legaux. "We're still trying
to get it stronger and there is still a lot of room for improvement. But my next goal is to be able to run."
And while there are no guarantees that Legaux will make it back on the field in the fall, he has already been an inspiration to his teammates and coaches.
"Those guys see the amount of work that I'm putting in when they come in from practice to the training room and see me doing therapy or rehab," said Legaux. "A lot of times those guys will text me or even send videos they've taken of me working out. You never know who is watching and you can brighten somebody's day by the amount of effort you put in."
"They're all pulling for him and when you go in the training room he's there," said Tuberville. "He's Mr. Training Room. He gets there early and stays late and when you're in this business as a player or coach you see that every day."
"I think he'll make it back," said Moore. "He's making strides and I didn't think he'd be this far along. I'm no doctor, but he looks great and his arm is still there so I hope so."
"Aw man, it felt great," Munchie told me after practice. "Just to be back out here with my teammates - competing, talking football, running around, throwing the ball - it felt great."
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