Black Jr. talks injury, 'Hard Knocks'

Former Indiana defensive tackle Larry Black Jr. suffered a season-ending injury in training camp. He updates AllHoosiers.com on his status and his plans for the future.

Larry Black Jr. lined up at his defensive tackle position for another play in the early stages of a grueling training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals. Black did everything he could to shed it lineman and get to the quarterback, but then his career flashed before his eyes.

It was a routine play gone bad. Another player was thrown into Black, effectively shattering his leg and sending him to the ground in agony. The former Indiana standout rolled around shouting expletives while the coaching staff pleaded to him not to move.

The moment was caught live by the cameras of HBO's "Hard Knocks", allowing the nation to share the plight of Black, an undrafted rookie doing everything he could just to make the team.

"When it first happened, I was in so much shock I didn't even feel it," Black said. :About five minutes after, it was way up there. It was probably a 10. Or higher. It was very painful.

"It was just a regular football play. Someone just got tossed at me and my foot was planted in the ground the wrong way. It had no choice but to go that way. Just a football play that happens in the sport."

Black suffered a dislocated ankle and a fractured fibula on the play and was lost for the season. And at the worst possible time, no less.

"He was just starting to come on," Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer told HBO. "He had gotten so much better in this training camp than he was in the OTAs. Hopefully he gets better, rehabs good. It was extremely unfortunate what happened."

A couple of weeks after the injury, Black had a chance to watch the episode of "Hard Knocks" at home.

"I was just like, 'Wow, it was really like that,'" Black said. "It doesn't even seem like all that happened because I wasn't even thinking about any of that then. I was just focused on so much other stuff. Watching that happen, it was crazy to see that."

Since the episode aired, Black said he has received thousands of tweets and some letters from people all over the country expressing sympathy. Several of his teammates -- including star defensive tackle Geno Atkins -- expressed their concern for Black on the "Hard Knocks" episode.

"It meant a lot. Just knowing that they had my back and how much people actually care, it means a lot to you," Black said. "The friendships and bonds you build in football are like no other."

It's not all bad news for Black. Since the injury occurred on the practice field, Black will be paid for the season. According to a report, Black will make more than $200K in addition to his medical expenses.

Plus, when he's healthy, Black will have another opportunity to make the team next summer.

Black recently got to return to the Bengals practice facility for the first time since the injury. He said he'll begin rehabbing with the Bengals next week and will begin walking in three weeks.

"It was exciting, it was fun," Black said of returning to the Bengals facility. "I got to watch film, get back into football again. It was pretty cool to see the guys again."


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