Stanback’s Lisfranc injury robbed Coach Willingham of a bowl in 2006 and body
slammed him onto a hot seat. In the worst case for Willingham, losing
center Juan Garcia likely will weaken the offensive line, viewed as the strength of
this year’s team, this through the loss of leadership, tenacity and
experience. Over the last two seasons, Garcia has started 25-straight
games at center for the Dawgs. Like Stanback’s injury, Garcia’s could negatively impact a bowl
season for Willingham, and his future.
With Willingham, he can
sooth his immediate concerns with the simplistic thought of "just
winning," while Garcia must contemplate an uncertain future.
can let the injury heal on its own which could hasten his return to the
team, but, evidently, there’s a 60% chance it won’t heal. Delaying
surgery could delay his return by whatever time he waits. Having
immediate surgery could involve a rehab taking as long as 9 or 10 months if Stanback’s
recovery is any indication.
there is the case of former DT Donny Mateaki, who successfully recovered
from a Lizsranc injury, missing spring practice in 2005 for foot surgery
to repair a ligament, only to play in the fall.
Garcia told reporters
yesterday that "he is holding out hope that he may be
able to return at midseason, or later in the year, even
if just for a token appearance." [Seattle Times]
The specifics of
Garcia's contemplated surgery are not known.
Although a different type of injury, former TE Joe Toledo’s recurring
groin injuries were always slow to heal. Gilby said that was par for the
course with a big man. As I remember, Toledo did a lot of bicycling for
the Dawgs over his career. I’m just speculating and thinking of Garica
having to put all that weight on his left foot again, and having to
slowly rehab it back into playing condition with the stress it
eventually must take implicit in all the twisting and turning of playing
center on the team.
know it’s easy to look to the past and question one’s decisions. Garcia
is faced with that daunting challenge over the next few weeks,
wondering if he shouldn’t have opted for this year’s NFL draft instead
of petitioning for a sixth year with the Dawgs – wondering what could
have been? In addition, he must wrestle with a decision as whether to
have surgery on his foot.
With positive people, dwelling on the past is
usually a fruitless and short-lived experience; the need for ensuring a
better future becomes a rightful companion, as trite as it is to say.