Oct. 28—Terrell Hall woke up one morning last spring, and his leg hurt and he was unable to move his foot.
He knew that he'd been seriously injured at football practice the day before, and it was becoming more real as he tried to walk with a torn Achilles tendon.
"I called coach (Todd) Hoffner, and I cried a little bit," said Hall, a junior defensive back at Minnesota State. "I knew I couldn't stay down and let it beat me."
Six months later, Hall was back in uniform. On Saturday, he'll be roaming the defensive backfield when the Mavericks host Southwest Minnesota State at 1 p.m. at Blakeslee Stadium.
"(The doctors) told me that it would be nine to 12 months, but I told them, that timeline doesn't work for me," said Hall, who played high school football at Winona before attending North Dakota State for one season.
Hall was injured on April 4, early in the spring practice period. He was competing in a one-on-one drill with the receivers when his foot got stuck in turf, tearing the Achilles tendon.
He had surgery a couple days later and spent much of the summer staying engaged with teammates, even though he couldn't participate in workouts.
He had asked Hoffner if he could transition from cornerback, where he started all 13 games last season, to safety during spring practice, thinking it would help the team. The process was going well when Hall was injured.
"I had many doubts if he'd make it back this year," Hoffner said. "He's a strong young man, and he did the work to get back. I thought maybe he was coming back too early, but he's getting better each and every day."
Hall was in uniform for the game at Bemidji State on Sept. 30, and his first game action came the next week at home against Minnesota State Moorhead. Rotating at safety, Hall has made six tackles and one pass breakup in the last three games.
"He can play anywhere on the back end, and with the way teams are throwing the ball, you need those guys on the field," Hoffner said. "I don't think he's missed a beat (since returning)."
Hall still has one more season of eligibility, and he's ready to do whatever the team needs.
"I feel good, but it's tough coming back in the middle of the season," Hall said. "No summer workouts. I didn't get to finish spring ball. I just take it day to day."
Hall said the team has moved past last week's loss at Augustana, determined not to let one game change the trajectory of the season. He's doing his best to keep teammates looking forward, willing to make sacrifices to help the team get back on track.
"I'll play tackle if that's where they need me," Hall said. "I love the game. I'm a team guy. Whatever is best is what I'll do."
Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier.