The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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BY MICHAEL SPATH C hris Wormley does not lose sight of the fact that perhaps the biggest highlight of his 2013 campaign oc- curred on a day when Michigan lost 43-40 in quadruple overtime at Penn State. Wormley is a team-first player — his biggest personal goal for the year is actually a team one, to win the Big Ten championship — but on the evening of Oct. 12, Wormley had reason to smile, and it had nothing to do with the sack and two tackles for loss he recorded. On that day, for the first time in more than a year, Wormley played without a brace on his right knee. Wormley lived with that brace after sur- gery in August 2012 following an ACL tear he suffered during preseason practices. "As the season approached, I was getting better and better physically, and started feel- ing more confident about my knee mentally," Wormley said. "I wore the brace for the first four or five games. "We talked with the doctors at the begin- ning of the season and I asked, 'If my knee feels good enough, do I have to wear it?' Dr. Miller, who did my surgery, and then the trainers all talked and they told me if I felt good enough, and trusted my knee, I could take it off. "I didn't want to make it a really big deal, so I just took it off and put in my locker, let it be, and carried on. "I had no issues in the game. I did ice it and there was some soreness afterwards, but during the game I told myself I wasn't going to worry about it and so I just went and played." Sitting in a comfortable leather lounge chair on the second floor of the renovated Schembechler Hall, Wormley slides his fin- ger over the small scar on his right knee. He has a lifting session to return to, and he's ready to talk about other things besides the knee. That he pays it no attention is a testament to the work he did over the course of 12 months to return to full health. But he didn't arrive at 100 percent without help. He could not have progressed without Michigan's doctors and trainers, and as he learned, not without the support of four teammates who were also out with injuries during the 2012 season. "[Cornerback] Blake Countess tore his ACL a couple weeks after I did, [offensive guard] Chris Bryant broke something in his knee, [linebacker] Antonio Poole had an Achilles injury and a pec muscle issue, and then [linebacker] Kaleb Ringer also had sur- gery on his knee, so we had five guys that were together all season," Wormley said. "We all kind of carried each other through Strength In NUMBERS Defensive Tackle Chris Wormley Is Thankful For The Teammate Support He Had In Returning From An ACL Tear 144 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW 144-147.Chris Wormley.indd 144 6/19/14 1:13 PM

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