Father discusses UK QB's surgery with KSR

John Newton, father of Morgan Newton, on his son's shoulder surgery: "They repaired it, and the doctor said he must be one tough kid to endure that much pain. Morgan did take a lot of pain for the Cats, and now hopefully he'll get his shoulder back right through rehab."

Surgery on Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton's right shoulder went as well as could have been expected, and now he's facing anywhere from four to six months of rehabilitation before he can test just how strong his throwing arm will be again.

His father, John Newton, said his son was a "little nervous" about the surgery because he had never had a major injury like the one he suffered against Mississippi State, when a defensive lineman landed on his shoulder.

"He is really scared to death of needles, but he knew he had to have this surgery," John Newton said. "The doctor said after he got in there and looked around, he said it was amazing that Morgan had actually still been able to throw the ball 60 yards in the last few weeks. The doctor said he didn't think it would be that bad if he could still throw like that.

"They repaired it, and the doctor said he must be one tough kid to endure that much pain. Morgan did take a lot of pain for the Cats, and now hopefully he'll get his shoulder back right through rehab.

"We want to make sure he's well. His rehab could go through spring practice (in April), but he knows the routine and if that happens then we'll just see how things go in the summer."

Newton, a junior, was 83 for 174 for 793 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. He ran 78 times for 272 yards and two touchdowns. In his career, he's thrown for 1,764 yards and 14 touchdowns while completing 52 percent of his throws and run for 452 yards and four scores.

There has already been speculation that Newton could redshirt in 2012 because of the injury, change positions or even transfer rather than compete with freshman Maxwell Smith as well as Bookie Cobbins, who was redshirted, and Patrick Towles, the Highlands quarterback who plans to sign with Kentucky?in February.

"We have not made any decisions on anything yet," John Newton said. "There is a lot to think about. He has one more year of eligibility. Redshirting? I have not recommended a damn thing, despite what some people are saying. You just don't know how the rehab will go. We will all play this by ear and see how things go from here. Who knows what the future will entail?

"Knowing him, if he heals well he will want to get back out there early. He already knows more of that offense than anybody. Knowing what to do won't be a problem. But we'll just have to wait and see when he can get back in there and participate in things."

Newton initially injured his ankle against Mississippi State, but went back into the game and got hit when a ball came loose.

"He was reaching for the ball and a big kid fell on top of his shoulder," John Newton said. "His arm came out of place a little bit. He went to the sideline, they moved it back in place and he went back on the field, which he probably shouldn't have looking back. The doctors said it was amazing he was able to do anything. He threw a little, but he couldn't move and that was what kept him out of the next game (against Mississippi). I didn't even pay much attention to the shoulder. I thought it was the ankle sprain causing him more discomfort."

John Newton, a former college player, understood why Kentucky?coach Joker Phillips and his staff did not divulge how serious Newton's injury was because Smith was the only other viable option at quarterback without burning Cobbins' redshirt season.

"There was a big hoopla about Max starting over Morgan, but Morgan could not play,"?John Newton said. "We were fine with that. He was going to sit out and see how his arm developed before surgery. We knew other teams were paying attention to what was being said and still had to prepare for Morgan, and that helped Kentucky. Max got out there and did some things, too.

"But Morgan couldn't run or throw. I was holding my breath at Georgia when Max got hurt and Morgan went in. I know these SEC schools can take you out at any time with big hits. I had told Morgan to be careful. Thank God it was the end of the game and Morgan just went in and handed off.?I was really nervous when he tried to throw that one screen pass.

"He was throwing some in the training room during Tennessee week, but on the field he couldn't move and do the same things. He couldn't go. I?knew they were working with (wide receiver Matt) Roark, but I didn't even know he was going to be the quarterback until the game started. Morgan's a team player, and he understood the strategy in keeping quiet and not letting anyone know he couldn't play.

"It's possible he could have had surgery earlier. I brought Morgan back to Indianapolis to just get a second opinion from the guys who work with the Colts and even took him to a neurosurgeon just to make sure there were no concussion issues. They all confirmed what was going on back in Kentucky was right.

"They said if he did not have the surgery he had a 5 percent chance of getting back to 100 percent. If he had the surgery, he had a 90 percent chance to get back to 100 percent. That sealed the deal for us."

John Newton says he's "real happy" with the work of UK?trainer Jim Madaleno and his staff and expects his son to be doing lower-body workouts in a month or so.

"Morgan never complained about his arm before. It was that one blow he took that did it," John Newton said. "He's a competitor and team guy. Whatever the coaches tell him to do, he'll do.

"There will always be a quarterback controversy wherever you. He just has to get well, compete and let the coaches make the best decision. I have ever confidence in the world in the UK coaches. They know he's a good athlete, but he has to get back in the saddle and do what he needs to do."

Morgan's brother, Langston, still plans to sign with UK?in February. He recently earned all-state honors after helping Carmel (Ind.) win its first state championship in four years. Another brother, J.J., will also be coming to UK as a student.

"None of them will room together, either. They are three different individuals. That would not work to have them rooming together," John Newton said. "But I?am going to make Langston and J.J. staying in the dormitory that first year.

"Langston really came into his own this year. Like Morgan, he's a competitor. (Defensive line) coach (David) Turner visited last week and was amazed (by) what he knew about game preparation and scouting reports. I really think he's going to be a good one for Kentucky."


AllWildcats Top Stories