Ronald Powell was expected to be among the nation's best defensive players in the 2012 season. However, thanks to a knee injury suffered during spring ball, the Buck linebacker has been spending his days working rehab instead of honing his skills. Now, according to Will Muschamp, as reported by the Miami Herald, the earliest time we could expect to see the junior is October.
Asked if he had a timetable for his return, Muschamp said, vaguely: “Not really. The first of October. Obviously, whenever they clear him to put some pads on and take on a block against a 330-pounder.”
That's both good and bad for the Gators. On the good side there's a chance that their big rush linebacker will have a chance to get back on the field. The bad news is that it is still just a maybe, and the Gators could be staring at a test like LSU as Powell's first game back on the knee.
While Florida fans and the coaching staff wonder over whether or not the big time player should try and come back for the back half of the season, Powell has to focus on taking his rehabilitation process day-to-day. ACLs are fragile injuries, even with the myriad of successful surgeries conducted, each case has the opportunity to go awry if not treated with the respect it deserves.
For Powell it means to approach everyday of rehab with just winning that day in mind. Try to rush it in order to help the team and things could be disastrous. The old saying goes, you can't make the club in the tub, and while Powell is running and doing light workouts now, a setback would put him further away from helping the Gators than he already is.
October is still over a month away, and while his progress is solid, it is still a soft goal. As the date inches closer, Powell's progress, the Gators' season and ultimately his goals for the future of his career will help make the decision as to whether he is better served playing the end of the season or sitting out 2012.
There are certainly advantages to both sides of the play versus don't play argument. On the play side of things, it would help the Gators once Powell gets back to game speed and can contribute. It would also help Powell put something on tape for moving to the next level should he decide, especially following a devastating knee injury, to leave for the NFL.
The "don't play" argument is clear: no need to burn a year and risk coming back too early when he can do a total year of rehab and come back strong in 2013 for the Gators.
The Gators, and more importantly Powell, will cross that bridge when they come to it. For now, Ronald Powell needs to focus on rehabbing that knee one day at a time.