A Q&A With Senior RB Arnil Stallworth

Mississippi State senior running back Arnil Stallworth talks about his ACL injury and his rehab.

When you suffered your knee injury what immediately went through your mind?
"When I first got injured it was like, 'ah man, it's down that road again.' When it happened I immediately talked to coach afterwards. It was like it was a win-win situation. I could come back next year or I could rehab and come back this year.

"So, what really went through my mind was to rehab as hard as I can and come back this year. Being this is the first year that we have a spread offense I wanted to be a part of it. And I'm rehabbing hard enough to be a part of it."

Had you ever had major surgery before?
"Yeah, this was actually my third surgery. That's why I said I'm going down that road again. But I was getting help from other players such as Andrew Ellard, who had tore his ACL earlier in the spring. And the doctors told me that there have been people who came back from ACL surgery in four and five months. The way I'm looking at it is I will be back in about five months."

How difficult has the rehab been?
"The beginning of rehab is the toughest. You start back walking on it and you are trying to get your range of motion back. That is the hardest part. Once you get into it, it's nothing. And I'm now at the stage where I am actually working out. I am pumping weight."

What exactly are you able to do right now?
"I am doing more leg extensions and leg curls. I'm doing leg presses, light squatting."

What do you still lack?
"I still lack the range of motion where I can bend it all the way back. But everything else is fine."

Where do you expect to be a month from now with your rehab?
"A month from now I should be close of 95%."

Will you be able to do full-speed practices at that time?
"The doctors say I should be able to participate in two-a-days by the time it rolls around, which is in about two or three weeks. But I won't be able to go every rep. I will probably be able to go every other rep."

Are you mentally concerned about going out on the field and running on your knee again?
"Oh yeah, it's that way with any knee injury. You think will you mess it up again? You can be 100% and you go out there and run a route and you feel something tweak, you think you may have messed it up again. That goes through anybody's mind when they mess up a knee. I just have to go through it mentally first, but when I get that first hit I will be ok."

People always think about how a major injury affects you football-wise, but something that is rarely thought of is how it affects you school-wise. Did it affect you going to your classes?
"In the spring when it happened, I talked to my teachers and they knew I had surgery. I had to do my makeup work but I didn't get that far behind. I only missed about a week and a half of school."

Even though you weren't able to work with the team did you still have to attend the practices?
"I had to be there. Even though I wasn't practicing I was doing stuff in the thing we call the pit. It was a whole bunch of abs and arm workouts. It was almost worst than practicing. But (going through) being hurt is harder than practicing. For real."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the 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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