Less than one year into a career that was thought to be full of promise, Antonio Bass suffered the kind of physical setback that all athletes dread. A misstep on the practice field resulted in an injury that cast doubt on whether he'd ever play the game he loves again.
"It was a quarterback drill," recalled Bass. "I was doing a basic quarterback drill. It was a freak accident. (The knee) just came out. It was crazy. I was just planting and then I guess I got caught in the turf. That was all she wrote. It wasn't pretty at all. Honestly, I was not trying to look at it at the time. I was in too much pain. The coaches were trying to keep me calm. They said it looked pretty bad, but I really didn't see it too much."
Bass didn't have to gaze upon the damage to understand the seriousness of his injury. When the doctor delivered the news, it was clear that the damage was career threatening. However, later evaluation forecasted a much more positive outlook.
"It's a little bit more significant than an ACL," Bass said. "I did the LCL and PCL too. They told me to take a couple weeks off and then come back. I had surgery about four months ago. It's funny…at the beginning they were questioning if I could come back at all…if I could do the things I usually do. After this surgery and after all of the procedures, they said I'll be back 100%"
It was thought that Bass' future might still be in doubt after Michigan headman Lloyd Carr's comments at Big Ten Media day last week. When asked if the former Jackson (MI) High star had suffered another setback that would be cause for concern, the veteran coach made mention of a diagnostic test that would clarify the matter.
"I don’t know that it was a setback," said Carr last week. "It was something that depending on how that test goes…it’s an important test in terms of his future as an athlete.”
When asked about the test at Michigan's media day yesterday, Bass indicated that his prognosis is still very positive.
"I'm having a basic knee test just to check my whole knee…to check out everything to see if everything is going right and if everything is going as good as it possibly can," Bass explained. "That's all it really is. It's like the whole knee procedure. It's like a checkup. I'm not concerned at all. I'll be back next year and I'll be back better than ever."
Much of Bass' optimism has come from the support he has received from family and friends. The people that care about him most picked his spirits up when they were at their lowest.
"All I can do is keep (his spirits) high," said Bass. "Just pray about it and do everything I can, and I'll be back. The whole team helped me out a great deal…keeping my hopes high. Coaches helped me and talked to me and said everything is going to be alright. My family and my girlfriend…. they all came. You know I need my girl at times like these. She helped a great deal."
With the surgery now in his rear view mirror, Bass is fully immersed in the rehab process. At this stage the second year wideout says things couldn't be going much better.
"The rehab is going real good," he said. "I'm coming back faster than usual. Talking to the trainers…they said I'm ahead of schedule, so I think I'm doing pretty good. I'm lifting with my leg and walking on my leg, but not straight running yet. I go four to five hours a day for five days. On the weekends I just relax and have a little free time. Then I'm right back at it."
If everything goes according to plan, Bass when be right back at it again on
the Big House field in 2007.