Being Tested

Addressing the media for the first time since it was announced he would undergo season-ending surgery, sophomore linebacker Chris Borland talks about the injury, his prognosis and his future with the Wisconsin Badgers.

How are you feeling and what's your reaction to the whole situation?

Chris Borland: At first it was tough to deal with but that's not going to be productive for myself or the team. I've kind of moved on to the next stage and trying to get this team better and getting myself better.

How long did it take to get to that stage, a couple of days?

Borland: Well, yeah, it was a couple of days. It still lingers. Everyday I've got to think about it.

What's the timeline with you for surgery and rehab and things like that?

Borland: Surgery, sooner versus later. Hopefully within a week or two. I'm just doing rehab right now to get the range of motion before surgery. After surgery, it will probably be similar to last year, probably six months.

What did it take for you to come to the decision? Was it something where the coaches kind of had to convince you to OK the redshirt? How did that all work out?

Borland: You know, the redshirt was pretty natural. I couldn't play. So if I can't play, you might as well get your year back. When I couldn't contribute or do anything on the field, it was the next logical step.

How are you anticipating this to affect you in the long run? When you are out of the game for essentially as long as you are going to be out for and not getting game reps, how is that going to affect you down the road?

Borland: Well I think my freshman year I got great game experience. I might have been a step behind in the mental aspect. This year having had the game experience this gives me a chance not only to catch up, but also to get a step ahead in the mental aspect. It's almost like becoming a player-coach, of sorts and really step up my mental side of the game. I think it can help me if I look at it the right way.

Is it really just tough to be on the sidelines knowing that your teammates are out there week in and week out?

Borland: Oh yeah, it's really tough to swallow, but injuries are a part of this game and you've just got to be mature about it and continue to get better, persevere and not let it affect you as a player, a person or a teammate really. I can still contribute things to these guys and still be a good team player.

Do you know what happened? Was it an issue that the surgery wasn't successful and you aggravated it? Or what is the situation?

Borland: The surgery was successful. It was a re-injury really. It was a new injury. I don't really know the medical jargon but I know it's a new injury.

Are you still looking for opinions out there for doctors?

Borland: Yup, we've reached out for a couple of connections that the medical staff and the coaches have to just get opinions from different schools of thought and kind of see what the best option is going to be.

Might there be a different procedure than what you went through last time?

Borland: It's definitely going to be similar because it involves a similar parts of my shoulder. We don't know necessarily how it's going to be done.

Is there any concern that this will be something that could prevent you from coming back?

Borland: No, the opinions I've gotten so far are that it's a 94 percent success rate. There's only a six percent chance (it doesn't work). I'm pretty confident in the coaches and the program is in really good hands. I trust the people that are working with me.

When you re-injured it did you know it was as serious as it was or did that kind of catch you by surprise?

Borland: Well it caught me by surprise the fact that it happened. I felt that it was worse than last year. It just felt more severe. It was surprising and a little depressing, but this is football and that's what happens. You just reached out to make a tackle, right?

Borland: At UNLV I wasn't really reached out as much as I was against Arizona State. It was a side fitting form tackle, a profile tackle, and it came out pretty smoothly.

Last year you had to sit out six months and I'm sure it was agony. It's almost a year now, have you thought about that part of it?

Borland: Yeah, I think it can make you stronger, though, definitely mentally tougher. You are going to be like a starving dog when you come back after being at practice every day and never getting to do anything. It can help you from that aspect. You just can't relax on anything. You've got to do everything you can because you're not going to be able to use your upper body.

What kind of stuff can you do now? Just lower body stuff?

Borland: Yeah, a lot of flexibility stuff. That's important for speed when I come back. Then leg strengthening, core and then the mental part of the game like I said before. That's probably the biggest advantage I'm taking not being out there every day. So in your mind, if the surgery is successful you'll be back out there in 2011?

Borland: Yes, absolutely. Any doubts?

Borland: No. I don't have any doubts. How involved are you? Do you go to practice everyday and do you plan on doing that? Are you on the sidelines and everything?

Borland: Yeah, I've got our practice sheet and I stand by the guys that aren't in and give them the play call. I get all the game books still and all the game plans. I'm staying involved. Staying in the loop helps you stay focused and continue working.

How do you help give back to your teammates from your role that you're going to be in now, which is obviously being over on the sidelines or practice?

Borland: I think I can be a middle man between the coaches and players sometimes because you're seeing how the coaches work more than you do as a player. I'm can see what they're trying to relay to the players and give them advice sometimes. I'm not a coach, but there are younger guys, too like Manasseh Garner just switched over to defense a little bit. I am helping him and David Gilbert in the Badger package. I'm watching guys. Sometimes Culmer St. Jean asks me to watch things and tell him how he's doing. It's just being observant. That's the best thing I can do.

Are they going to have you travel?

Borland: I don't know. I don't know what it's going to be like. Do you feel like you're being tested now in some ways, maybe a judge of your character that can make you stronger?

Borland: Yeah, comparatively to things some people go through this is nothing. I think about being a better person and a better player, too.

You said you are working on your range of motion. Are there things you can't do with everyday things?

Borland: I can do everyday things. I can go to school and stuff. I wouldn't be the person I would ask to help move, but I can still do the things I need to do every day.

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