It’s been three days since news surfaced that UW running back Deontae Cooper would miss a third straight season with an ACL injury — this time to his right knee, an injury that first occurred Monday.
Since then, Cooper has been a constant presence on the UW sidelines, cheering on and conversing with teammates as he often has the past two years.
Saturday, he also met with the media for the first time since the injury and vowed that he will return in 2013.
“I’m going to be fine,” he said. “I’m going to rehab fine like I did the other two and I’m going to be right. I’m going to be physically in shape and be ready to go next year.”
Cooper said he “teared up” when he first heard the news and admitted that it’s been tough to deal with the reality of another year on the sidelines, and of rehab.
But displaying again the same attitude that has so endeared him to teammates and others around the program, he said he hasn’t wallowed in self-pity.
“I don’t have a ‘why me (moment)?”’ he said. “It’s just unfortunate luck. But I can’t be unlucky forever. I’m going to catch a break sooner or later.”
Cooper said one reason it took a few days for news of the injury to surface is that he didn’t know at first himself what had happened.
He said the injury occurred pretty early in Monday’s practice while taking a handoff in a 7-on-7 drill.
“I made a plant and it was my calf and I was worrying about my calf,” he said. “I’ve had so many knee injures I was like ‘it’s my calf — I’m going to be fine. Then as the days went on I started feeling my knee and I told the trainers ‘this feels like something serious.’ So that’s when I got the MRI and they told me I had a slight tear in my ACL.”
Asked his emotions when he heard the news, he said it was tough and that “it’s still hard. It’s hard now. But like I said, I’m going to get over it. As soon as I get this surgery I’m going to be ready to go, ready to train and get right.”
Asked if he expected to play in 2013, he said he had no doubt.
“Yeah definitely, definitely, definitely,” he said. “Don’t sleep on me.”
You can see video of Cooper’s interview below:
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