Dvoracek still on long road back

Rob Dvoracek was on the fast track from the time he joined the Temple University football team. The linebacker was one of only three true freshmen to play in every game in 2012 and he was slated to start at middle linebacker in 2013. But the last two years have been a series of setbacks for the Allentown, Pa. native.

Rob Dvoracek was on the fast track from the time he joined the Temple University football team.

The linebacker was one of only three true freshmen to play in every game in 2012 and he was slated to start at middle linebacker in 2013.

But the last two years have been a series of setbacks for the Allentown, Pa. native. A hand injury slowed his progress heading into the 2013 season and he didn’t rejoin the starting lineup until week 4.

After three games, he suffered a shoulder injury that put him on the bench for four games until he recovered to play the season finale. But returning for the final game proved to be costly as he suffered a knee injury that required surgery and became infected.

Dvoracek wound up having four procedures on the knee – one to repair the damage and three to clean out the infection. The ongoing recovering caused him to redshirt last season.

“That last game I hurt my knee and it was downhill from there,” said Dvoracek. “It was tough, nothing I could really do except put my head in the dirt and keep going. Everything happens for a reason, I’m just doing what I can do to get back on the field. I have to keep working hard and get back to where I want to be.”

Dvoracek is still working back but is hoping to be fully recovered for this season.

“I’m still rehabbing and working with the strength staff and trainers to get back on the field and by fall I should be good to go,” said Dvoracek. “I just try to get better every day. I’m just trying to get back and get healthy.

“It feels all right. I have my days I’m able to do rehab and it will get sore. But I’m recovering from the soreness and that’s the big thing, because I’ll be able to continue my rehab.”

Dvoracek admitted he’s not sure if he’ll be able to return to his former level, but he’s hopeful that will be the case. A lot has happened in the last two years as Nate Smith as solidified himself in the middle and Tyler Matakevich has become one of the better linebackers in the country on the outside.

When he is healthy, Dvoracek will begin the long road back to earning the starting spot he had in hand two years ago.

“It’s hard to say (where I’ll be) because I’ve been out a while since I last played sophomore year,” said Dvoracek, who has two years left. “I learned a lot from the game being out. And I’ll be excited when I can get back on the field.”

Dvoracek was a student coach last season and he admitted that opened his eyes to some nuances of the game.

“As a player, you’re always coaching up other guys and at this point being away from them and looking in on them, it was a totally different perspective and I learned a lot,” said Dvoracek. “It was a chance for me to step away and realize how fortunate I am to be a part of the game and learn a lot from the coaches and how they view things. I was able to call in plays … It was a different experience.”

Temple coach Matt Rhule admitted Dvoracek has come a long way but still has a long way to go.

“He’s still pretty far away, he had just a terrible, terrible injury from the infections he had after the injury,” said Rhule. “We made him a (student) coach and he was outstanding, he could be a coach. He’s come a long way, he’s back up strong, he’s squatting … We love him. He’s everything we want to have here. He’s selfless, a good player and a better person and we’re hoping he’ll be back soon.“

Dvoracek’s initial goal is just to be healthy. But once he knows his knee is sound, he’ll do everything he can to get back into the lineup.

“Nothing is handed here,” said Dvoracek. “It’s been a learning experience. It was frustrating because I never sat out a year of football before.

“But I’m excited fo the future, excited to get back on the field, excited for the two years have left. I'm hoping to be out as soon as I can. I can’t wait to be honest with you.”

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