University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defensive tackle Nick Davison suffered a torn ACL in his left knee last Saturday, but that doesn't mean the senior's season or career is finished.
The former Calhoun (Ga.) High School standout has begun a rehab regimen that he hopes will allow him to return to the field in a couple of weeks. He definitely will miss the No. 17 Mocs' game at Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, however.
"It's my first [serious knee injury] but I'm rehabbing, and hopefully I'll be back in the next two weeks or so," Davison said following Tuesday's practice, during which he did a variety of exercises and walked around without crutches or a brace on his knee.
The injury occurred early in the fourth quarter of the Mocs' 38-17 win over Jacksonville State. Davison and defensive end Josh Williams were in the process of sacking JSU quarterback Coty Blanchard when Davison planted his left leg and things went awry.
"My foot just stayed in the ground and everything else went," Davison said. "I felt it pop."
"Did it hurt?" asked Mocs coach Russ Huesman, who was standing nearby after practice.
"A little bit. I was more scared than anything," Davison said.
Huesman said the injury "wasn't as bad as we originally thought, so that was good news," adding that "we'll go into next week seeing how he's doing with his rehab, and we'll make a decision at that point in time."
Because Davison's position requires more forward and backward movement than side to side, it may be possible for him to play with the torn ACL. Along with strengthening the muscles around the knee during rehab, Davison will wear a brace when he tries to return.
Davison played his first two collegiate seasons at UAB before transferring to UTC, so he still has a redshirt year available if he's unable to play again this season. UTC would have to apply for a medical hardship waiver for Davison to be granted another season of eligibility.
It has been a tough stretch for UTC defensive linemen. End Chris Donald, who led the Mocs in sacks in 2010, had to give up football because of a wrist injury, and tackle Nick Craig had to stop playing because of a knee problem. Tackle Chris Mayes, a Navy transfer, wasn't cleared by the NCAA to play this season.
With Davison out Saturday, and possibly much longer, the Mocs will rely on a trio of first-year players in the middle: redshirt freshmen Keyon Reed and Devin Scates and true freshman Josh Freeman. Another true freshman, Toyvian Brand, could get his first action against the Colonels.