After spending the past few months rehabbing with a nerve specialist in Jacksonville, freshman offensive lineman Brent Benedict reports to Athens Thursday all ready to begin his collegiate career.
However, how quickly he actually gets on the field remains to be seen.
By now Benedict's story is a familiar one.
Last October, the 6-foot-5, 305-pounder tore his anterior cruciate ligament, his posterior cruciate ligament, meniscus and hamstring while running down the field to celebrate a touchdown in a 68-0 victory over Yulee.
The surgery by noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews was deemed successful, and Benedict began the long, arduous road to recovery.
So far, so good, although the former Bolles star said it's still too early to tell when he might actually get back on the practice field.
"Everything's going well. The rehab is going well, and that's going to continue just as soon as I get up there," Benedict said. "Ron (UGA team trainer Ron Courson) has it all mapped out, although there is no time frame. We're just going to wait and see. Hopefully, it's going to be sooner rather than later."
Benedict hasn't ruled out being able to compete this year.
"All that's still up in the air, whether I'll redshirt or play," he said. "I really don't know any more on that than I did a couple of months ago. All I've been doing is rehabbing to try and get stronger."
So far, most of Benedict's strength and conditioning has been upper-body drills but he expects to expand that process upon his arrival at UGA.
Although he's aching to get back on the field, Benedict said he's "very confident" that his knee will be able to withstand the play-by-play pounding. He just wants to make certain there no issues down the road.
That's why Benedict was allowed by coaches to remain in Jacksonville to continue his rehab with his nerve specialist for as long as possible until his arrival in Athens.
"It was just a guy I've been doing rehab work with and he was able to keep working with me, so we (UGA coaches and Benedict) just decided to do that," Benedict said. "I'll pick up with Ron Courson and his excellent staff. They'll be able to have me do everything I'm doing now, they've got the equipment. I know I'll be in excellent hands."
Meanwhile, Benedict has been keeping in touch with his future teammates, including roommate Kolton Houston who has been giving him the daily lowdown on summer workouts and what he can expect once arriving in Athens.
"I was up there for orientation, so I'm ready to get up there," Benedict said. "I'm very excited and I can't wait to get started."
He's not looking back, either, refusing to dwell on the injury that many thought would threaten his football career. Thankfully, Benedict said that won't be the case and it's only a matter of time before he's back on the field.
"There's no point at looking back at anything. I'm done with high school, the injury was during my senior season," Benedict said. "I'm recovering from that, so it's time to move on, time to get stronger and time to get better."
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