This was not the way University of Arkansas offensive lineman Jim Hart was planning on helping his Pocahontas team try to win at least a share of the 2AAA conference title.
That is basically being the biggest cheerleader on the sidelines when the Redskins (7-1, 4-1) host league-leading Newport (5-3, 5-0) Friday night, as much a cheerleader as you can be with a torn ACL and a torn MCL.
"Yep, my year is finished and there is nothing I can do to help my team now except just cheer them on from the sideline, which I plan to do on Friday," Hart said. "We haven't lost to Newport this past two seasons and I don't want it to happen now, but they are very good and have a great running back (Quentin Alcorn)."
Hart (6-7, 295) suffered the injury in the third quarter of his team's 14-7 win over then fellow unbeaten Highland, but certainly didn't think it was as bad a injury as it has turned out to be.
"They were running the ball behind me and I was moving off of my block of a defensive end to go get a linebacker," Hart said. "All of a sudden I planted my foot and our running back's helmet goes right into my knee. I heard it pop what seemed like about five times, but I still got up and walked off the field and didn't think too much about it. I thought I would just put a brace on and get back out there, but they didn't want me, too."
By the time Hart got to the sidelines, his knee was hurting more, but still it thought it was more of a stinger than anything else.
"In fact, I went to the Arkansas game (against Auburn) the next day and walked two miles back to my friend's apartment after it was over," Hart said. "I didn't think much about it at all."
Last week he was sent to the doctor and an MRI revealed both a tear of the ACL and MCL, causing him to miss last Friday's 27-13 loss to Hoxie.
"I got the results last Wednesday and was just floored," Hart said. "All of a sudden my high school career is over with. And then we go out and lose our first game of the year. It's been tough."
Hart will have surgery in three weeks and has been told he should be back to normal by next June, just in time to make it up to Arkansas for summer workouts.
"I don't like to use the term quick fix because that's not really accurate, but it isn't as bad as it might sound at first," Hart said. "I'll begin rehab and should be ready to do everything by June. It's certainly not going to stop me from being the best player I can be. In fact, they told me it might even be stronger than it was before because of what they do."
He is a little disappointed in one activity that will be curtailed.
"I can still do some hunting, but I am not going to be able to duck hunt because I won't be able to get my legs down like you need to," Hart said. "That's a bummer. I was really looking forward to that."
Hart has plans to be in Fayetteville next Saturday for the Razorbacks' game with South Carolina.
"Oh, yeah, I'll be there," Hart said. "Nothing's going to keep me from coming to support Arkansas and being a Razorback in the future."
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