"When the season was done I got an epidural, because we were going the conservative way," Kovalcheck explained. "I just irritated it again. I woke up one day a little bit stiffer than normal. I came out here for 6:00 running and it just slowly got worse." The actual surgery only took 45 to an hour, but the results were instantaneous.
"Right when the surgery was over I felt 100% better. All the pain that was going down my leg, it got to the point when I said ‘I need to fix this.' Right after the surgery I had no pain in my leg at all, it was a relief."
Kovalcheck first noticed the back pain early in the season, but could not pinpoint when or how he hurt it. Ironically, the back was already hurt before he assumed the starting job. By the end of the season it was really bad.
"I couldn't really sit down," Kovalcheck said. "I was always standing during the meetings."
Last year he was battling three other scholarship passers. This spring it was going to be him getting most of the reps, but now he has to just sit back and watch Adam Austin get most of the snaps. "It's always fun to come out here and get better," Kovalcheck said. "I'll have all summer to push myself harder than I was able to before because I had to be cautious about my back."
For now the passer can only watch. This does not mean he is not working. He is front and center, charting plays and taking notes. He is discussing things with Austin and offensive coordinator Mike Canales throughout practice. He expects to be back doing some light throwing before the end of camp and then he'll take the summer to get in shape for fall camp.