Croom To Have Knee Procedure Friday

With spring camp completed, Mississippi State's coaching and training staffs can breathe a sigh of collective relief. Their Bulldogs got through the 2005 session with only a couple of new injuries and none that threaten August availability. Still this is a time of the football year when any lingering repair work can be done, and one particular Dog will be in the body shop tomorrow.

The big Dog, that is. Coach Sylvester Croom is scheduled to have a knee procedure performed Friday morning in Columbus, to take care of an old condition. Naturally most of the details are private, and at the coach's insistence Mississippi State is not making a fuss about what should be a reasonably routine operation involving repair and partial replacement of a joint that has become increasingly creaky. A post-procedure bulletin might be released if the coach approves, a MSU official said.

Croom did hint at the situation when discussing his appearance on ESPN2's live broadcast of the Maroon-White Game this past Saturday. The head Dog enjoyed providing commentary with the network broadcast crew, except for the fact that he and his cohorts stood for the entire afternoon telecast. "That wasn't great on my knees," he grimmaced.

The state of Croom's knees has been well-known ever since he arrived in Starkville. The former star offensive linemen at Alabama and one-year professional center paid the same price as many who play a brutal blocking position at some point. And playing-days ailments were inevitably aggravated by years pacing college and NFL sidelines, particularly the ‘fuzzy concrete' of most artificial surfaced-stadiums.

Croom does frequently make light of his lineman's legs, and the fact that he spends portions of every Bulldog practice, such as the warm-ups and some specialty segments, patrolling the fields in a golf cart sponsored by the Greater Jackson Bulldog Boosters. The ‘Croommobile' is a nice ride and keeps the coach's legs as fresh as possible for daily drills, but now he has carved out post-spring time for a more permanent solution.

Hopefully the result is that come September, when the Bulldogs charge onto Scott Field for the season-opener, they will have to hustle to keep up with a head coach who has a new spring in his own step.

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