Illinois’ right tackle Corey Lewis played the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Lewis had an MRI following the season and learned his ACL was gone.
It was a shocking realization for a player who had already suffered three – yes three – ACL tears in his collegiate career. In fact, the only reason he was even playing in 2013 was because he had received a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA granting him a sixth year to make up for the lost time because of injury.
But Lewis said he knew his knee wasn’t right as early as fall camp. He didn’t want to say anything for fear that it would derail his final season and because it didn’t feel like any of his previous tears. Also, coaches were already being cautious with him and allowing him Tuesday practices off to rest his knees.
“I felt that if I could play, there was no reason to MRI it and get shut down if something came out of the MRI,” Lewis told the Sun-Times. “I just wanted to play my last season.”
Thomas Klootwyk, an Indianapolis Colts team physician who operated on Lewis following the Illini season finale against Northwestern, said he thinks the ACL had probably been torn most of the season.
Despite the news and the disappointment, Lewis said he still plans to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL. He’s rehabbing and hoping to participate in Illinois’ pro day in March even if it’s just to take measurements and lift weights for scouts. Lewis also told the paper he plans to work out at Total Athletic Performance facility in Naples, Fla., and the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., this April in preparation for the free agent bonanza following the NFL draft.
“My Plan B’s already set up. I’ve got my master’s degree [in sports administration]. I have aspirations to be an athletic director one day,” Lewis said. “But first I’m giving it my shot. I think I’ll be ready for training camp.”
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