Milewski Goes In-Depth on Injury Rehab

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Sophomore defensive end David Milewski's injury problems are well documented, but are much more complex than bad luck and trouble. Out for the season with his third ACL tear, Milewski spoke with about the emotions and details of another season in rehabilitation.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The once bright start to the career of David Milewski is quickly fading with his third season-ending injury coming during summer conditioning. Milewski nearly found the field early as a true freshman before his first season-ending knee injury and the problems spiraled from there.

Now heading into his third year in the program, Milewski is out for the third time with his career now in jeopardy. In Milewski's own words, his future comes down to luck and determination.

"It hasn't just been three straight ACLs," Milewski said. "It's been something complicating each one that has led to the next. Hopefully we can get it fixed right and get me back on the field. I'm going to work as hard as humanly possible to keep my career going. I guess it's just a matter of luck at this point."

Milewski tore his first ACL midway through a true freshman season where former coach Greg Schiano had him on the two-deep set to debut before he went down. The injuries spiraled downhill from there with a series of tough breaks.

Milewski's first ACL surgery led to an infection, which was the key contributed to his second knee injury, suffered in October of his red-shirt freshman year.

Out for the season again, Milewski went under the knife again for his ACL and a meniscus tear. Doctors scoped his meniscus while repairing his ACL, which led to his most recent injury. Without the meniscus relieving pressure off his ACL, it tore again during summer workouts.

"I think I've just had a lot of bad luck in terms of one surgery leading to the next," Milewski said. "There's been issues with each one that has led to the next injury. At this point, I want to wait to make sure that things are done correctly, so that I can rehab, and for the first time since high school, actually have a full knee recovery."

Milewski has yet to have his third reconstructive surgery. In addition to extra precautions, he is currently stuck on a transplant list for a new meniscus.

"This time, the approach is to get a new meniscus and a brand new ACL," Milewski said. "The rehabs are simultaneous, so it will be perfect. If that happens relatively soon and I get it and I start rehabbing, I feel like there's no reason why I can't come back and play again."

Moving to defensive end in the spring, Milewski was expected to push for reps as a starter heading into training camp, but instead is keeping himself in shape and waiting for his third time under the knife.

"I was hurting mentally, really badly, for the first couple of weeks," Milewski said. "I was in denial about it. I wanted to play without [surgery]. I was saying that around the trainers and they said there was no way. Once it got past that point, I started feeling more positive. I've got good family support."

More than anything else during his first three years at Rutgers, Milewski saw first-hand what can happen with a positive attitude and belief. "Absolutely" planning to return to the field, Milewski does not have to look far for inspiration through tough times.

"The biggest source of motivation ... when people ask me how I'm doing, I ask them if they remember what happened at this school," he said. "I look at somebody like Eric [LeGrand] and what he's going through and the way he's doing it. I could have 100 ACLs and no right to feel sorry for myself. That's how I feel about it."

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