Kavaris Harkless played with what his coaches at Jacksonville, Fla., Trinity Christian thought was a badly sprained ankle all summer.
But coach Verlon Dorminey said the injury was eventually found to be a small fracture that took a long time to heal.
It still hasn't slowed Harkless.
The 6-foot-5, 275-pound offensive lineman is committed to the University of Louisville and has been a force for the 8-1 Trinity Christian team this season. He's helped the Conquerors to four straight wins as they head into the Class 3-A playoffs this weekend against Daytona Beach Father Lopez.
"He's just getting better and better," Dorminey said. "He was in some pain early on but he still did a really good job for us. He's an offensive lineman that leads and he's going to do a really, really good job for Louisville."
Harkless said he's "feeling better" but is still trying to get fully back into the swing of things after his injury.
"I've been hitting the weight room strong," he said. "I'm trying to get everything back up under me, getting my feet back up under me.
"I know there are things I still need to improve. I need to improve more on my pass steps and attacking the guy."
Dorminey said because of the way he can pull that he could see the U of L coaches making Harkless a guard but the player said he expects to be a tackle, noting "it doesn't matter to me left or right."
"At the next level, I am pretty decent right now," he said. "But I know the reason we go to college is to get bigger, stronger, faster. They'll make me better."
Harkless said he's still getting a lot of calls from college coaches. He went to the South Florida game against U of L several weeks ago with some teammates, noting it was "fun to see Louisville play."
Despite the other calls, Harkless is "fully" committed to U of L. He expects to make his official visit in mid-December and sign in February.
"I absolutely love Louisville," he said. "The coaching atmosphere is like a family and it's just great. It's amazing to watch them play and I can't wait until I get out there and play with them.
"I love coach Strong; he's the best. He's not just about the game, but about the player and who he is and what's best for that player and not just the game. It's just all around the best place for me and I can't wait."