Nobody was happier to be on the field than Danny Anthrop. When the sophomore receiver suffered a knee injury in August, it at first appeared he wouldn't be in practice for the rest of the season.
"It's really a blessing to be back," Anthrop said. "It could've been a lot worse, and I understand that. I feel like I got a second chance. I'm extremely happy and grateful."
Anthrop, a West Lafayette native, injured his knee toward the end of Boilermakers' jersey scrimmage—the final practice in summer camp.
"It was the last half-hour of two-a-days," said Anthrop with a smile. "The heat, the blood—and then I get hurt. It took the wind out of my sail a little bit."
Now, Anthrop can laugh about it. When the injury occurred, the scene was grim. With friends and family gathered in Ross-Ade Stadium, the bleachers fell dead silent.
Lying on the field, Anthrop held his knee in pain and let out loud screams. It was an agonizing scene.
"I was fearing the worst," said Anthrop. "It felt like my knee was inside-out. I've seen it happen before, and it was the worst. That's what I was fearing, that it would be over for a year."
After taking an MRI at Purdue, Anthrop returned home, feeling dejected about the injury. But good news of his diagnosis leaked on Twitter—where Danny found the news first.
It wasn't a ligament tear, the reports said. The rumor mill brought in good news.
"I was happy, but I didn't know for sure," Anthrop said.
So Anthrop frantically called coach Darrell Hazell, who brought the good news. It was just a grade-two MCL sprain. Oh, sweet relief.
The recovery time was set to be three or four weeks. Anthrop was back on the practice field just days later, limited in action. Tuesday brought his first full-go workout since the injury, joining the Boilermakers in their preparations for Notre Dame.
Purdue offensive coordinator John Shoop called Anthrop's showing as "a little bit rusty." Danny offered a different description.
"I think I did pretty well getting into the groove of things and getting to the ground," he said. "After today, I feel confident in the things I was doing before I got hurt."
You can't blame Anthrop for feeling so upbeat. Good fortunes are on his side.