UCF QB McKenzie Milton still hoping to return to the football field in 2020

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Could we see McKenzie Milton on the field in 2020 for Central Florida? He certainly thinks there’s a chance.

The UCF QB suffered a devastating right knee injury against South Florida in November of 2018. Milton dislocated his knee and suffered nerve damage as he went down awkwardly while carrying the ball. He had numerous surgeries in the weeks and months that followed and missed the 2019 season.

He said in the spring of 2019 that he was aiming to play in 2020. And he reaffirmed that goal on Thursday when he met with reporters. When asked if he could put odds on if he’d play in a game at some point this season, Milton said he wasn’t much of a bettor. But he did put decent odds on himself.

“Right now, I’d honestly say maybe 50-50. It’s still up in the air but I’ve been making big progress and still have a long ways to go. I’m not sure what my surgeon’s going to say in June. I hope that he clears me, but if he doesn’t, it is what it is.”

If Milton gets good news at his appointment with his surgeon he could start practicing in full with UCF whenever it begins its fall practices. While starting the season-opener against North Carolina seems like a longshot at this point, Milton said he’s kept the goal of the 2020 season because it’s a motivator to keep working hard.

“The reason I set that goal is because I want to approach my rehab every day with the idea that I’ll be ready to go for fall camp and I’ll be ready to go for North Carolina in our first game,” Milton said. “If I’m not approaching it that way, then I’d feel like I’d be missing days of therapy not working as hard as I can. That’s why I’ve set that goal and I hope to reach that. And if I don’t, I don’t and I’ll keep knocking it down block-by-block. And hopefully when I go up to Minnesota at the end of June I’ll get some good news.”

Milton was one of the best quarterbacks in college football in 2017 and 2018. He was 265-of-395 passing for 37 TDs and just nine interceptions as UCF went 13-0 in 2017 and beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl. His stats declined during the 10 games he played as a junior in 2018 in coach Josh Heupel’s first season, but he still threw for 2,663 yards and 25 touchdowns with just six picks.

As Milton redshirted in 2019, Dillon Gabriel emerged as UCF’s starting quarterback. Gabriel was 236-of-398 passing for 3,653 yards and threw 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions as a freshman. UCF also returns Darriel Mack Jr., the man who replaced Milton in 2018. Mack missed most of the 2019 season because of a broken ankle.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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