You suffer damage to any one of these which are located around the knee, you have a long and perhaps uncertain road in front of you.
Abilene High School's Chris Williams injured them all.
Suffering a devastating injury in the last district game of the season, the last season of his prep-career, one would have to wonder just what the future holds. For Williams, he had already committed to his future prior to this game, committing to Nebraska to play college ball.
Would they still want him? Would they still honor his scholarship? That's a lot of questions which may be considered a bit paranoid, but in the big-business world of college recruiting you never know. Well, Chris did, and said that those types of questions never entered his mind.
"The coaches told me on my visit that they saw me as a centerpiece for their linebacking corps, and that they stand behind every one of their guys," Chris said of conversations with Husker coaches. "I never worried about whether they would still want me. I know how much they did. That was one of the reasons I chose Nebraska."
Williams had thought about taking trips to Oregon and LSU, but ultimately shut his recruiting down late in his high school season, and started to think about the future. He still thinks about it, but realizes that it's a future which may be a bit delayed.
"I'm definitely on schedule to get back to 100 percent, but that's the most important thing right now," Williams said of his rehab which started well over a month ago. "I'm just going to keep working on it, and when I get to Nebraska I'm just going to work on getting bigger, faster and stronger."
A redshirt season almost seems certain for Williams, which is something that he hadn't planned on doing, but said that he's more concerned with coming back right than he is coming back right now. "I know the coaches and everyone is going to take care of me up there, and I'll get back on the field when they think that I am ready," he said. "If that's sooner than later, great, but it's more important to make sure I get full back before worrying about just what I am going to do."
While Williams didn't finish the last game with his team, he had a chance to compete in most of those leading up to it. Totaling 78 tackles, averaging almost eight tackles per game, that's not a bad amount. But as Williams said, when you look at how much the time the actual starters had on the field, that amount looks even better. "Most games we were out by halftime, because our team could really score," Williams said of his Eagles, which averaged almost 50 points per game during a season which saw them score as much as 81 points in a contest and 70 in another. "We just got to watch most of the second half most of the games we played."
The season's performance was a bit of a surprise to most around the area, even for an Abilene-team which knocked off the perennial 5A power Southlake Carroll last season. It was perhaps Abilene's best team in years, and this season they weren't supposed to be nearly as good. With a number of high caliber starters on offense gone and this team trying to find an identity, you could say that this team went above and beyond the call.
Williams thinks so anyway. "People didn't expect us to do anything based on the year before. It finished quick, but we kind of knew all along we would do well," he said. "But that team we had, man, I wouldn't trade it for anything."
Chris won't be trading it in, but he'll be upgrading a big, you might say, as he'll be competing one day for the big red. It's a team he's obviously watched with great interest all year, especially after he decied that is where he wanted to go.
That includes the bowl game, of course, and when he thinks about what he saw, and this being just the first year for that staff, he is positive that there can't be anything but good things in store for the Huskers down the road. "They had a lot of inexperience at linebacker, some walk-ons back there and this was the first year for the staff. You had to be impressed with how they finished the season," he said. "The team always plays hard, and Coach Pelini really has everything going in the right direciton.
"You are going to have to replace guys here and there every year, but to see what they did in their first year, it's going to be something pretty special, and I am really excited to be part of that."
Williams will have time, but it's time he doesn't think about other than knowing that between now and then there is a lot of hard work along the way. It's all fine for him, because he's so confident about the destination the journey is just another thing. "I know what I am doing with my rehab, and things are going really well right now. I am just working as hard as I can to get my leg better and for me to get bigger, faster and stronger," he said. "I'm not worried though. I know I will do it. I don't have any doubts about that at all.
"It's just going to take some time."