Munoz surgery relieves pain, worry

The surgery Michael Munoz underwent last year eased more than the pain in his knee. It also eased his troubled mind. That's why the massive offensive tackle enjoyed an excellent spring and is eagerly awaiting this fall.

''I was able to do a lot more things (than prior to surgery) because I knew the knee was healed,'' he said recently. ''Up to the surgery, I was being cautious because I knew I had a problem with the knee. I knew the knee was healed this year and I knew there was nothing more they (doctors) could do, so I had the green light to go. I was still cautious about what I was doing but I was able to do a lot more things — running and jumping to get myself better. The knee hasn't given me any problems, and that helped me as far as football goes.''

Asked if he tries to put his past knee problems out of his mind when he steps onto the field, Munoz nodded emphatically.

''Definitely,'' he said. ''The knee's always in the back of your mind but you've got to push it aside. Your football career's too short to be thinking about things like that. I'm just going out there, enjoying things and having fun.''

There were concerns that Munoz's knee problem might be career-ending. Thanks to his great work last spring, however, those concerns have given way to rampant optimism.

''I'm 100 percent,'' he said. ''I'm stronger than I've ever been. I feel great, conditioning-wise and strength-wise.''

He also feels great about this year's offensive line. Despite the departure of seniors Fred Weary and Reggie Coleman, the blocking front has a chance to be outstanding.

''We're very deep,'' Munoz said. ''We have more than five guys with game experience. That's huge. We have a lot of young guys who could contribute early because of their great talent. When you have that combination, good things happen. I'm excited to see what happens with the guys on the line.''

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