Sophomore RB Garrison getting closer to returning to action
Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 01:06
As Dustin Garrison stared out the window of the bus taking the West Virginia football team to Sun Life Stadium for the Discover Orange Bowl, he couldn’t help but think about what he was being forced to miss out on.
Just days before the game, when the team was already in Miami practicing, Garrison suffered what he soon discovered to be a torn ACL and sprained MCL during a non-contact drill.
He still remembered what it felt like when he got hurt.
"It was like a freak accident. I took one step, then another and it was all gone," Garrison said. "You make that same move every time; it just takes that one time to mess it all up.
"I took the step, went down and heard everything and, for a couple seconds, I didn’t feel much. Then it just hit me."
He sat on the bus, knowing he was going to be forced to watch the biggest game of his life from the sidelines. He admitted it was a tough pill to swallow.
"It was me and (senior linebacker) Terence Garvin; he got hurt also. He grabbed me by the shoulder and told me it was going to be alright," Garrison said. "He knew exactly how I felt. It was hard (watching the game from the sidelines), but we had to be proud."
The injury made Garrison think differently about the game that he had been playing since he was six.
He said knowing the game that he and his teammates love so much could be taken away at any time made him realize you can never take anything for granted.
"I remember asking (redshirt freshmen receivers Dante Campbell and K.J. Myers), ‘What if you couldn’t play the game?’ " Garrison said. "I never really thought about things like that until I got hurt.
"It’s a fun game, I enjoy playing it; we all do. If we couldn’t play football, it’d be horrible."
After his surgery, Garrison began his rehab and recovery. It wasn’t hard to find him on a stationary bike throughout most of spring practice. By the end of the spring, the Pearland, Texas, native had been cleared to start running with his teammates.
He’s now doing almost everything his teammates can do when it comes to conditioning. He can’t make cuts yet, but that will come.
As the season draws closer, so does Garrison’s return to the field.
"Every time I’m here, when I’m at home, that’s all I’m thinking about," Garrison said. "I’ll look out on that field, and I see myself getting back out there. It’s really motivation for me."
But when that time does come, when he gets to step on the field again, he doesn’t want to be handed anything just because of what he did last season.
If he’s going to see the field, he wants to earn his playing time.
"I see myself in the back of the pack," Garrison said. "I don’t want (head coach Dana Holgorsen) or (running backs coach Robert Gillespie) to put me up top right away. I want to earn my way back. I know (Andrew) Buie and Shawne (Alston) and the new guys have a lot to prove.
"But so do I."