Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Alabama's Hightower is back in a flash
By ESPN.com staff
One of the most surprising storylines of the spring to me is that Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower is full go and doing everything in practice.
This coming only six months after he had reconstructive knee surgery.
Hightower hurt his left knee last Sept. 26 against Arkansas when he was cut-blocked.
Not only did he tear the anterior cruciate ligament, but he also tore the medial collateral ligament and meniscus. The original diagnosis was that he probably wouldn’t be cleared until right before the start of preseason practice in August.
Hightower had other ideas and worked feverishly to get back, and even lobbied to practice out in California in January prior to the BCS National Championship Game.
It’s doubtful that Hightower will be allowed to scrimmage. Alabama doesn’t want to take any chances, although coach Nick Saban said Hightower could play in a game right now if there were one this weekend.
Hightower steps in as the replacement for Rolando McClain as the Crimson Tide’s middle linebacker, but will also shift to more of a pass-rushing role on the outside on third down.
Given some of the inexperience surrounding Hightower at linebacker, it’s a plus that he’s practicing this spring.
Everybody knows he’s a great player when he’s healthy. But if you’re going to become a great leader, you have to be out there with your teammates.
"I didn't want to be one of those guys who'd be like, 'He's not going to be the same,'" Hightower said of his speedy recovery. "I used that as motivation to be where I am today."