The injury was debilitating, the rehab lengthy, and the wait lasted seemingly forever. But nearly a year after suffering a devastating knee injury against Arizona, Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov will return to the Cardinal lineup Saturday when Stanford hosts Duke.
Skov never doubted that he'd one day day return to the gridiron, but admitted the rehabilitation process wore on him at times.
"I always knew I'd come back from the injury," Shayne Skov said. "I didn't know how long it would take. And sometimes it was frustrating. (I) maybe had doubts because the road seemed so long and so difficult, so you might question how long it was going to take and how dark that path is, but I always knew football was something that I loved and I was not going to let it go."
Skov's return to football this Saturday will take on added emotion. The senior linebacker willl be joined on the field by his younger brother Patrick Skov, a redshirt freshman fullback who made his Cardinal debut in last week's win over the San Jose State.
Saturday will mark the first time the brothers have played together on the same team - ever.
More than 20 Skov family members and friends will converge on Stanford Stadium for what's sure to be an emotional occasion.
"I'm beside myself," said Peter Skov, the boys' father. "This is the first time I'll ever see my boys playing together on the same team. They've never played together, ever."
Shayne and Patrick's mother, who suffers from a severe medical condition, may also attend.
"Hopefully my mom will be able to make it," Patrick said. "She has a disability but hopefully my family will bring her up to the game. And it will be the first time everybody in my direct family will be at the game and it will be the first time me and Shayne are on the field together, so hopefully this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Stanford head coach David Shaw knows what it's like to be on the field with family. Shaw's father, Willie Shaw, coached David during his playing career at Stanford. The pair later coached together for two seasons in the NFL.
"Playing with your brother I think is special," Shaw said. "I was fortunate to play when my dad coached here, and I was fortunate to work with my dad for two years in the NFL and that family connection... to have a family member there also is so special. And now both of them are going to be playing. Both guys are going to be walking off the field dirty and tired. And that's special. I'm excited for them and their family."
Although Shayne's snaps will be limited against Duke this weekend and it might be a few weeks before he's completely back to full speed, the senior linebacker is still considered a top NFL prospect. Shayne could return to Stanford for a fifth year next season, but the brothers are determined to make 2012 special.
"One of the reasons actually during camp I decided to be roommates with my brother (was that) so going into possibly one of his last years on the team being together we wanted to enjoy the time as much as possible," Patrick said. "And I don't know, going into this game, nothing's like the feeling of game day, so hopefully we'll be able to cherish this experience with each other and it'll be a good one. And hopefully of course end up with the victory."
Either way, Saturday will be the culmination of a lifelong dream, one that few brothers get to experience.
"It's amazing," Shayne said. "You kind of joke as kids (about) maybe one day getting to play together so now the dream has really become a reality. To see Pat step up this year and be a contributor on this team, it's just amazing. I have as much excitement for myself as for him to see him on the field and every time he goes out to make a block or get a hit on somebody, it's an incredible opportunity that we have."