More heartache for Simon

Kevin Simon has no control over the torn ACL in his left knee but the Vol linebacker has control over his mood, and he's going to keep that as upbeat as possible.

The ACL tear, suffered in the first quarter of Saturday night's 30-28 defeat of Florida, was the latest in a frustrating line of setbacks for Simon. He missed the entire 2001 season recovering from an ACL tear in his right knee. He played four games in 2002, then broke his ankle. He sprained his ankle early in 2003 but played through the pain all season.

Despite all of the adversity he's dealt with in the past, Simon is surprisingly philosophical now that he's dealing with yet another setback. Though standing with the aid of crutches, he kept a smile on his face while dealing with reporters during a Tuesday interview session.

''I'm a really strong person,'' he said. ''I pride myself on being strong, not crumbling under pressure. I'm unbreakable. I'm not going to let this break my spirit. It's not going to break my body. I'm going to bounce back and be fine.''

''I was fortunate to have my dad and some friends here,'' he said. ''They made it easier. We BS'd most of the night, so it really didn't set in until the next day. Then I was like, 'Man, I can't believe I really tore my ACL.''

Simon says he suffered the injury when he leaped to try and bat down a pass. While still in the air, he was pushed by a lineman and fell awkwardly.

''I've probably done that a thousand times in my life,'' he said. ''But this time my knee didn't hold up.''

There is no official word yet from UT's training staff but the odds are Simon is done for the season.

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