If you're looking at the glass half empty, Shayon Green is an unfortunate soul.
If you're looking at it half full like I am, Shayon Green is a medical marvel.
Green, a Hurricanes defensive end, played his first snaps on defense last Saturday against Bethune-Cookman -- 41 for the game, he said. But what's most impressive is that he did it six months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee -- for the second time!
The redshirt sophomore tore his right ACL the first time in fall camp as a freshman. This last time he did it at the end of March during spring practice. "I was the defensive end coming off the edge and I guess I stepped wrong,'' he said.
"I never quit.''
Golden rewarded Green's grit by giving him substantial playing time last week. Last year he played minimally on special teams.
"Really tough kid,'' Golden said of Green, who came to UM in 2009 as a middle linebacker with 225 pounds on his 6-3 frame. Golden switched him to end in the spring and he now weighs 255.
"First of all, an amazing story on his part just to be able to do what he did Saturday,'' Golden said. "Unbelievable. Just the amount of work he put into it. [It's] also a credit to our doctors for him to be able to come back that quickly. I had no idea. He brings a real presence, a toughness and explosiveness that we need."
Golden said Green's move to end helped the Hurricanes "make some moves,'' such as Adwale Ojomo going from end to tackle. "We'll continue to use him more.''
Green is from Tifton, Ga., and was rated the No. 65 weakside defensive end prospect in the nation by rivals.com, when he played for Tifton County High.
Green had three tackles against Bethune, including sharing in a tackle-for-loss with Marcus Robinson in the red zone.
"The first play I was so excited I guess I overdid it,'' he said of last week. "As the game went on, I got more comfortable at it.''
Did he think he'd be back on the field so soon?
"No, I didn't think I'd be back this quick,'' Green said. "The doctors told me I had seven to eight months and I set a goal and reached it, accomplished it early. It was very easy the second time because I knew what to do, knew how to accomplish thing.''
He had surgery in April.
"My knee is great. It's back to 100 percent,'' Green said. "It's not bothering me at all.''
He said his doctor said he had never seen a recovery quite like his.
"It made me feel great,'' Green said. "I put in so much work for it. I deserve it. I think I needed a break.''
--SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN