ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan defensive lineman Brian Mone was expected to be a major contributor to the defense last season. Those expectations weren't exactly met after a season-ending injury sidelined Mone in a crucial point of camp.
In a freak accident, Mone tripped and heard a pop. Thinking he could go back out there and play, he noticed the swelling which prompted X-rays. A screw in his ankle later, Mone is back practicing with the team fully.
With the obvious rust needed to come off, Mone being back to full health might be a bit of an understatement.
"Man, I feel amazing, I feel great," Mone said. "There's just stuff in practice I need to fix, my technique especially. My hands and my feet are some things I need to focus on."
When discussing how he feels compared to where he was at before the injury occurred, Mone added:
"I feel faster. I feel really fast and more explosive."
Even though Mone could not practice with the team, the strength and conditioning coaches had a dedicated area for injured players to lift weights and observe practice from a far. Crediting his strength gains to the rehab and weight lifting, not being able to practice with his team and standing on the sidelines was motivation to come back better and stronger.
"When the team would practice the strength and conditioning coaches had us on the side working out," Mone said. "It wasn't only just working out, I was watching the team practice, play football. It just motivated me even more to get stronger."
For now, Mone is able to function without any lingering issues. When he looks at his ankle and sees the surgery scarring, it's a subtle reminder that the game of football can turn on you in a heartbeat. Freak accident or not, Mone couldn't help but be heartbroken.
"It was really hard," Mone said. "It was hard when you love something so much and you let it get away from you, you're heartbroken."