“It just didn’t turn out right this time,” Handley’s standout offensive lineman said on Monday.
Against Dallas County on Friday night, Bozeman’s left knee twisted then “popped,” he said. Despite early assessments to the contrary the four-star Alabama commit had torn his ACL spelling the end of his senior season.
Surgery is scheduled today at noon with Dr. E. Lyle Cain Jr. in Birmingham, who was suggested by Alabama. Bozeman said the Crimson Tide coaching staff has sent encouraging words toward his recovery.
“It happens to people every year, and they come back stronger,” Bozeman said. “They said they know my work ethic and they know I’ll bounce right back from this.”
When Bozeman (6-foot-5, 312 pounds) first went to the sideline on Friday, the training staff thought it was only a hyperextension. He reported feeling fine, and he was sent back into the game. After two series, Bozeman’s knee popped again, and he was sidelined for good.
A Saturday morning second opinion wasn’t definitive either at the beginning. “The doctor started pulling on it and said it’s definitely not ligaments,” Bozeman said. Then he underwent the MRI and the diagnosis was clear.
“(The doctor) said the muscles are so strong in my legs that they’re compensating for the ACL,” Bozeman said.
Bozeman said everyone was shocked by the news of the season-ending injury because no one expected it to be as serious as reality has shown it to be. Most thought at first just resting one or two weeks, he’d be back in the mix to lead Handley’s quest back to the state title game and adding to their 2011 Class 3A state championship. But the goal is still the same, the role Bozeman plays in it is the only change.
“I’m trying my best to get to practice and trying to be that moral support and teach the younger kids what to do and how to do it,” Bozeman said, “just kind of turn into a coach.”
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He cane be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.