Mark Melichar Suffers Moderate MCL Sprain

Mssissippi State signee Mark Melichar suffered an MCL strain during Sunday's all-star mini-camp practice. He and his dad talked about the injury and his road to recovery.

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The injury occurred last Sunday, near the end of practice.

"He was injured at the Sunday Alabama all-star mini-camp. Near the end of practice a defensive lineman got hit by a linebacker and both of them fell and hit Mark's knee with their helmets," said Mark's dad, Randolph. "Mark was wearing knee braces which kept him from having a serious injury."

Mark went into more detail about how the accident happened.

"It was near the end of practice and the first time we had a chance to bring everybody together. It was one of the first plays and was a screen play. I was supposed to pass-block my guy, then go kick the corner," explained Mark, one of seven MSU signees who were selected to play in the game. The other MSU signees who are playing in the game are Rodney Prince, Arnil Stallworth, Anthony Dixon, Anthony Summers and J.C. Brignone. "I went to pass-block him and that was when the linebacker blitzed in and hit the defensive lineman. And they both fell and hit my knee. I have a big cut on the back of my brace, where it looks like I was hit from the back and the front. I went down and heard my knee pop. I got up off of it and started walking it off. The trainer came and checked me out and said that it was an MCL tear, but he didn't know about the ACL. He, basically, said that if I hadn't had the brace on my knee injury it would have been much more severe."

Randolph took Mark to have his knee evaluated the next day after consulting with the Oak Mountain High School head coach.

"When it happened my dad got on the phone with my high school head coach and he called the trainer at school and she got an MRI and a doctor's appointment set up with Dr. Tracy Ray," said Mark.

The MRI results turned out to be great news for the Melichar family.

"I took him to Alabama Sports Medicine Monday where he was evaluated by several doctors. He had an MRI the same day," noted Randolph. "They told him that he had a Level 2 MCL sprain, which is a moderate sprain. They said his ACL was not injured and that it's as solid and strong as always."

More good news was that no surgery was required and that he will need just a few weeks of rehab.

"Mark won't require any surgery. He'll rehab for four to six weeks at Champion Sports Medicine in Birmingham," said Randolph.

He started his rehab this past Tuesday.

"I went to rehab on Tuesday this past week. They wanted to get one in before I went to the beach," noted Mark, who is spending some relaxtion time in Destin, Florida with his personal trainer and a couple of other players who work with his trainer. "I'm at Destin right now. I have one (final) exam next Tuesday and was coming down here to get away a few days. My trainer, Tommy Jackson, brought me and a couple of other guys that he trains down here so that we could relax for the weekend. It was kind of a reward for our hard work with him every day. (But) I've been rehabbing every day since I've been here."

He explained what he can and can't do as far as his rehab is concerned.

"Basically, it's just icing my knee, riding the bike, doing a little pool work just to loosen my knee up a little bit. I've also got several exercises that the trainers at Champion Sports Medicine gave me to do, which has been helping my knee out a lot," reported Mark. "My pain is about gone. They said it will be about a month before I will be able to run. I can't really squat right now, so I'll really concentrate on my lifting and riding the bike to keep up with my conditioning. That was one of the things that I was disappointed about because Coach Jackson has me in the best shape of my life right now. I was doing all the running that State was having me do. And the guys who I work with are all skill guys. I'm the only offensive lineman. That helps me a lot because I try to make their times."

Obviously, Mark is very thankful he decided to start using the knee brace that saved him from what could have been a season-ending ACL injury. He explained how he came to that decision.

"I knew that all the college offensive linemen have to wear them. And I had gotten a lot of advice that I need to get knee braces for this (all-star) game. So, I thought that I might as well wear them and get a week of practice under my belt with them on because I will have to wear them at State," said Mark. "I talked to my trainer at school and she called the Donjoy representative, the company that sells the braces. And they came to my school and fittted me with them."

While he's happy everything has turned out ok as far as his injury is concerned, he isn't happy about one consequence of the injury.

"They are holding me out of the all-star game, which was really disappointing at first, but I'm ok with it now," he said. "I was really looking forward to playing in it, but Dr. Tracy Ray said I need a month off from football, then I will be ready to go."

He's still going to be a part of the all-star team, though. And he's really happy about that.

"I'm still going down there about midweek and stay there the rest of the week. My dad talked to the (all-star game) director and (Alabama head) Coach Joey Jones," said Mark. "They have been great about the entire situation. I'll still get to come on the sidelines and get my jersey. And they still want me to be a part of everything that goes on. That really made me feel good knowing that I'm still part of the team. When I first got selected for the all-star game I was really excited. Ever since I found out about it, I have been excited about playing in it. The really cool thing about it is I get to play in a game with all the guys that I know from different schools. It'll be the last time I will get the chance to play with then."

Since he suffered his injury, has his thoughts about playing in the all-star game changed?

"If you are going to get hurt, you are going to get hurt. I really don't think you can play in fear and with the mindset that you might get hurt," said Mark. "I, basically, go out there and play. If it happens, it happens. Unfortunately, it happened to me. But it was a no-brainer. Football is a contact sport and there are going to be injuries."

But he also understands the fans' viewpoints about the injuries that might occur in all-star games. However, he also hopes that fans understand why players love to play in them.

"We understand that people cringe when they think about all-star games and the possibility of players getting hurt. It does happen. But it's a decision that every athlete has to make on his own," said Mark. "Andy Davis, a good friend of mine who is going to play safety at Alabama, couldn't wait to play in the game. He thought if I get hurt, I get hurt. But most of the guys aren't thinking about (injuries). They are just thinking about going out there and playing football. All the guys love playing football. So, they are just going out there to have a good time. Coach Jones told us at the meeting about how his older son still talks to this day about the week he had down there and the friends he met. And (MSU redshirt freshman) Johnny Carpenter said that he met one of his really good friends at the all-star game last year."

Speaking of Mississippi State, what are his hopes for the upcoming season?

"My hopes are to get healthy and to come in July 6th ready to work and get after it. And to come in with the mentality that I am going to work my butt off to help the team any way that I can," he said. "State's coaches have told me that this is really the first year that they can redshirt offensive linemen, which is great for me. Johnny Carpenter said it was the best thing that happened to him because it allowed him to learn the offense. Coach Grimes told me that what he expects out of me is to come and learn (the offense) as if I'm a starter or a backup even though I'll be redshirting."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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