Sunseri Encourages Injured Jackson

Some eyebrows were lifted Monday when Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, "We are confident Eddie Jackson will make a full recovery and be ready to go this fall." That timetable doesn't surprise Vinnie Sunseri, who suffered a similar injury halfway through the 2013 season.

Alabama had its first scrimmage of spring practice Saturday and during the workout cornerback Eddie Jackson suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). One of the spectators was former Crimson Tide safety Vinnie Sunseri, who had a similar injury last season.

Five months after suffering his injury and undergoing an operation, Sunseri is making a strong bid to be drafted by an NFL team. Moreover, the former Bama safety said he felt that he could have played in the Sugar Bowl, two and a half months after his ACL surgery.

Perhaps, then, Jackson could be ready to play in the 2014 season.

Jackson, a 6-0, 188-pound sophomore cornerback from Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., was battling true freshman Cam Sims (6-4, 204 from Monroe, La.) for a high ball that Sims pulled down in Saturday's scrimmage. As the players tumbled to the turf, Jackson did so awkwardly and suffered his knee injury.

On Monday, Saban issued a statement: "Eddie Jackson had an MRI Sunday which confirmed that he had ligament damage in his knee that required surgery. We have a great medical staff here and he will have the full support of everyone in the organization as he goes through the rehab process. We are confident Eddie will make a full recovery and be ready to go this fall."

The Alabama orthopedic group that did the surgery for Sunseri – the Dr. James Andrews team that includes Dr. Lyle Cain -- is still in place to do the work on Jackson.

Sunseri said, "My therapist, Kevin Wilk, has worked out a bunch of great players and the one person he worked out that I've tried to emulate is Adrian Peterson coming off his ACL and he worked out Adrian Peterson and he said I'm right neck-and-neck with Adrian Peterson with how I came off my surgery, how I've recovered. It was just an ACL; wasn't meniscus, wasn't MCL, wasn't any cartilage; so clean tear, came back good; it was a great experience, I feel awesome."

Sunseri also recounted last Saturday and the injury to Jackson.

"I feel terrible for the guy," Sunseri said. "I woke up Saturday, texted Ryan Kelly, came out to the scrimmage, watched, saw it happen. I just told Eddie that everybody starts at some point. It might be when they are eight years old and they are working to become a pro football player. Some people get injured and come back from it. I told him Eric Berry tore his ACL, Adrian Peterson has tore his ACL. There's no reason you can't be exactly like them. That's what I told myself. Everybody starts at the same point. It depends on how hard you work to get back to where you're at and to get where you want to be."

Last year Jackson played in seven games and started four. He had 16 primary tackles and assisted on three others, broke up three passes, recovered a fumble, and turned in a pass interception.

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