Alabama redshirt junior outside linebacker Terrell Lewis has played in only four games the past two seasons.
A torn elbow ligament sidelined him for 10 games during the Crimson Tide's run to the 2017 national championship, and a torn ACL last summer shelved him for all of last season. It's not the career Lewis drew up when he arrived in Tuscaloosa as a five-star prospect from Washington, D.C., but he's not asking for sympathy.
"That's just a part of the game," Lewis said this week in a news conference, "and it's why we preach to guys to stay ready, because you never know when it's going to happen. It's a testament to what we've been through around here.
"We've seen guys go down, and we have to be prepared."
The injury bug has feasted on Alabama's linebackers in recent years, with the latest casualty being Joshua McMillon. The fifth-year senior, who was occupying one of the first-team inside spots alongside junior Dylan Moses, suffered a knee injury during Saturday's scrimmage that will require surgery and likely keep him out for the season.
Lewis played in 11 games as a true freshman in 2016, recording 11 tackles that included a 9-yard sack at Arkansas, but the Crimson Tide's 2017 opener against Florida State in Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium resulted in injuries to four linebackers who wound up missing multiple contests. Outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings (ankle) and inside linebacker Rashaan Evans (groin) were able to return later that September following the 24-7 win over the Seminoles, but outside linebacker Christian Miller (torn biceps) and Lewis (torn elbow ligament) did not return until the Iron Bowl loss at Auburn.
A 13-yard sack of Georgia's Jake Fromm in overtime of the College Football Playoff title game in Atlanta provided Lewis a moment to savor from his mostly lost year and gave him momentum for last season, which never got off the ground due to the setback in summer conditioning.
The 6-foot-5, 252-pounder has managed to keep a sense of humor, especially when discussing this year's Aug. 31 opener against Duke in Mercedes-Benz.
"Atlanta has been my home field," he said. "I feel like I've been there more than I have in Bryant-Denny."
Bryant-Denny Stadium was home to Lewis this past Saturday, when he competed in his first scrimmage since the spring of 2018.
"It was fun being back out there and being in the mix of stuff and getting that confidence back," he said. "I went into it with the mindset of not thinking about it but just playing and acting like nothing ever happened. I am so ready for this season, but I am taking it day by day and cherishing the fact that I get to be out there.
"I'm not taking any day for granted."
Alabama held its 10th preseason workout Tuesday, practicing indoors for two hours in full pads. The heat index in Tuscaloosa, according to AL.com, reached 111.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.