Alisa contemplating redshirting

On his second rushing attempt against the University of Hawaii last year, running back Michael Alisa suffered a broken arm that ended his 2012 season. About 18 days ago, Alisa had to have his arm surgically repaired again due to the bones not healing correctly. This will cause him to miss all of fall camp, and force him to make a very tough decision heading into the 2013 season.

When his arm hit the top of a Hawaii player's helmet, it bent back in the middle of the forearm. Michael Alisa rolled off the arm, as it again flexed unnaturally, grabbing it while walking off to the sideline. It was visibly clear that it was broken, ending his 2012 season.

Fast forward to 2013, and an arm that should have been healed has not done so correctly.

"It's frustrating, and the fact that it's the same injury that just came back two weeks before fall camp, that's frustrating," said Alisa, who spoke in a reverent voice. "I was working hard all summer and this surgery put me back. I haven't been able to run around and lift. These next couple of weeks will be really important to getting in shape for the season again."

After losing his starting job to true freshman Jamaal Williams because of the injury last year, Alisa knew he would have to endure a steep climb up a rather large mountain if he was ever going to start again. Williams bursts onto the scene last year, carrying the ball 166 times for 775 yards and 12 touchdowns, all of which were records for a BYU true freshman. Alisa knew exactly what he was up against.

"Yeah, so the offseason I busted my butt for that reason because he's a stud," said Alisa. "If you want to play alongside of him, then you have to be balling out as well. When this happened, that's when I got really worried. I was like, 'Okay, it's tough to compete with him in good shape, and now I'm not in good shape and I'm suffering from this injury.' That's going to be a pretty steep incline."

His latest setback wasn't a case of him getting reinjured. Instead, Alisa's arm just hadn't made enough progress.

"It wasn't a rebreak," Alisa said. "Basically, the bones haven't fully healed. My ulna – the outside bone – they got the x-ray and at first they thought it was a non-union of the bones where they hadn't fused together. I got a CT scan and they just decided they needed some more compression on the bones, so they put in a new plate and some jazz down there."

Alisa was visibly disappointed by the whole ordeal, and rightly so. Throughout the entire summer, he worked extremely hard to put himself in a position to compete once again for the starting running back spot.

"I was pretty down Saturday after my first time running around after the surgery," said Alisa. "But, you know, some coaches were telling me, 'Don't base your emotions off of your first day coming back. Let's see how you are in a month.' So, I have to stay positive and keep working hard.

"The comforting part is the muscle growth is pretty quick, so the work that I put in this summer was not in vain. That's keeping me sane."

Doctors told Alisa that he should be fully healed six weeks after the surgery effectively causing him to miss most of fall camp.

"They told me six weeks from surgery, so that's right up to the [Virginia] game," said Alisa. "So, right now I'm just running around trying to get my cardio up. In the coming weeks I'll be able to start taking handoffs when we're not padded and stuff."

Although redshirting isn't something Alisa would prefer, it's a subject that has been addressed in private with his family.

"I haven't redshirted yet in my college career," Alisa said. "This is my fourth year playing. That has come up with my family talking to me. Personally, I don't want to redshirt just because this season is so exciting to me. We're playing some sweet teams and it's Coach Anae's first year and, you know, I just really want to be a part of this team. But at the end of the day if I'm not fit to play I'm going to have to."

So how will he decide whether or not to redshirt?

"Fasting and praying and talking to my family," Alisa said.

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