Levy to miss all-star game

UW football recruit will sit out WFCA Shrine Bowl as he recovers from hernia surgery

No one will ever accuse DeAndre Levy of refusing to play through pain.

Levy, a well regarded linebacker who is set to embark on a college football career with the University of Wisconsin this fall, underwent surgery this summer to repair a hernia and two torn muscles — injuries that date back to his senior season at Milwaukee Vincent last year.

Levy (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) expects to be back at full strength in time for the beginning of the Badgers' training camp next month, but he will not be able to play in the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association's annual Shrine Bowl all-star game, which will take place July 16 at 7 p.m. at Titan Stadium in Oshkosh.

Reached on his cell phone Friday afternoon, Levy said that he had surgery about four weeks ago to repair an umbilical hernia (also known as a "belly button hernia") and muscle tears in his hip flexor and groin.

"[The doctor] said about 4-6 weeks (for recovery)," Levy said. "As the weeks go on I can continue to do more and more."

"I should be completely cleared by, like… the second or third week in July," he said.

Levy, who has already moved to Madison, has been taking part in light jogging and weight-lifting exercises.

"I can do like light jogging and a little light lifting right now," he said. "But I'm starting to move along with my rehab and things."

"This is my first week really being able to do anything like running and stuff like that," Levy added. "I've been jogging and that's pretty much it, like, the past two or three weeks. But I just started running, like, three days ago."

Levy's expected mid-July clearance should leave him enough time to be ready to go when UW begins practice Aug. 10.

Levy said the injury initially occurred during the second game of Vincent's season (Sept. 3) but he had been trying to work through it.

"I can't recall a specific play," he said. "It just started bothering me."

"It happened during the second week of football season but I just got it checked out recently," Levy said. "I was trying to let it heal but it never healed. So, I had to go to, like, two, three different doctors before they finally found out what was exactly wrong with me."

This was not the only time Levy played through what many would find to be an unbearable ailment. Also in September he came down with what proved to be a Staph infection. But he initially thought the swelling on his back was from a mosquito bite and he played three games before seeking medical attention. Early on the morning of Sept. 24, Levy checked into a hospital and had surgery so that the infection could heal properly. Levy, though, still convinced his doctors, his family and his coach that he could play for Vincent that night. He never missed a game all season.

Though the Staph infection spread from his back to his hips before it was treated, Levy said that there was no connection between the infection and his hip flexor injury.

The ailments did not catch up with Levy during his season, when he contributed 84 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and five sacks, but they will keep him from representing Vincent on the South all-stars. The team will practice this week on the campus of UW-Whitewater.

Another change is in the works for Levy. After being projected as a mike, or middle linebacker, on signing day in February, Levy said Friday that he expects to play the weakside will position when camp opens.

A physical and speedy linebacker (he ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at a UW football camp last summer), Levy could play any of UW's three linebacker spots.

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