McNeil out 'at best, probably three to four weeks'

Tennessee center Josh McNeil watch his teammates practice at Haslam field on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009.

Photo by Saul Young

Tennessee center Josh McNeil watch his teammates practice at Haslam field on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009.

Josh McNeil’s Tennessee football career continues to hang in doubt after the senior underwent arthroscopic surgery Wednesday morning on his left knee.

“He had surgery at 7:30 this morning,’’ head coach Lane Kiffin said after Wednesday’s practice. “They scoped it. At best, (McNeil will be out) probably three or four weeks.

“But that’s just the initial scope. They may have to go in and do a bunch more stuff.’’

McNeil had started 35 consecutive games. Knee problems are nothing new for the Mississippi native but he reinjured his left knee a little over a week ago and hasn’t been the same since.

Tight end Jeff Cottam is one of McNeil’s closest friends on the team.

“It’s a tough time for him,’’ Cottam said. “He didn’t want to have surgery and sit out the season, or at least the beginning of it, so I know it’s hard on him.

“But it’s something he’s got to do. He’s got to get his knee fixed.’’

Cottam, no stranger to injuries himself, anticipates that McNeil will contribute, whether it’s on the field or not.

“He knows the offense real well,’’ Cottam said, “so he’s going to help coach everybody up. He’s a fifth-year senior. He knows a lot of football.’’

Senior linebacker Nick Reveiz considers McNeil a kindred spirit.

“My heart is with Josh,’’ Reveiz said. “I’m the kind of player that I love the game of football. I don’t play it for all the extras. I play it because I love to play and I know Josh is the same way.

“But that’s one of those things that as a football player you’ve got to look at it like we’ve got to get the next guy ready to play.’’

The next guy is senior Cody Sullins.

McNeil redshirted in 2005, then became a starter in the fourth game of 2006. He’s started every game since.

Because 2009 is McNeil’s fifth year, season-ending surgery could be the end of his UT career. He would need to secure hardship approval of a sixth year by the NCAA to return in 2010.

Mike Strange covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6276.

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Comments » 26

givehim6 writes:

Take care buddy, prayer out to you. Hope to see you back in Orange soon.

Alt_news (Inactive) writes:

Kiffin, Mathien and McVeigh are setting themselves up for a lawsuit on this one.

Who does the doctor work for?

TonyGeist writes:

So, McNeil gets hurt last week. He voluntarily chooses to play through the pain. Then, through a series of unfortunate events, he gets hurt again and needs surgery. Yeah, Kiffin's really setting himself up for a lawsuit.

Alt_news (Inactive) writes:

This is not a one week issue. They all know it.

If, as Kiffin suggests, Josh might need more surgery in the future, why didn't they do it this morning? Do they - or don't they - know if he's going to need more surgery?

Or are they simply an Olineman short?

Nothing a daily needle won't fix...

doubledown writes:

in response to TonyGeist:

So, McNeil gets hurt last week. He voluntarily chooses to play through the pain. Then, through a series of unfortunate events, he gets hurt again and needs surgery. Yeah, Kiffin's really setting himself up for a lawsuit.

Oh horse feathers Lawyer..

McNeil is a tough competitor, and I expect if he's hurt too much to play this yeard, will apply for his 6th year and return next fall.. This is his ticket to the NFL and he's not going to pass it up.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to Alt_news:

This is not a one week issue. They all know it.

If, as Kiffin suggests, Josh might need more surgery in the future, why didn't they do it this morning? Do they - or don't they - know if he's going to need more surgery?

Or are they simply an Olineman short?

Nothing a daily needle won't fix...

Obviously the surgeon needs to go review the tape.

Need_2_Know writes:

in response to doubledown:

Oh horse feathers Lawyer..

McNeil is a tough competitor, and I expect if he's hurt too much to play this yeard, will apply for his 6th year and return next fall.. This is his ticket to the NFL and he's not going to pass it up.

A 6th year is not only not a given, it's a relatively infrequent occurrence. I don't know all of the particulars in this case, so it's difficult to say how successful such an appeal might be.

Also, as much as I love all of these young warriors who represent Tennessee, Josh really doesn't have an NFL future. His time here at UT has been marked by some inconsistancy, and he doesn't have the physical size and speed to play the game at the next level.

Let's hope that, if it's what he wants, Josh heals enough to play sometime this season. Moreover, let's hope that he gets well soon and does whatever is best for his future.

TonyGeist writes:

in response to doubledown:

Oh horse feathers Lawyer..

McNeil is a tough competitor, and I expect if he's hurt too much to play this yeard, will apply for his 6th year and return next fall.. This is his ticket to the NFL and he's not going to pass it up.

Not sure if you realized this, but that was sarcasm aimed at the post above.

TommyJack writes:

Good wishes to Josh. He's been a loyal and hard working Vol.

stayingorange writes:

This is too bad for McNeil and I hope he makes it back this year.

Wilsonctyvol writes:

Best wishes Josh, Hang in there - We're praying for you and a speedy recovery. We appreciate everything you've done and continue to do....

CoverOrange writes:

I remember why Josh became the starter in the 4th game of 2006. Had to do with another walk on he couldn't beat out, missing THE block on a Florida MLB that sacked Ainge. Next week McNeil was the man and remained for 35 games.

Hounddog writes:

Wish you a speedy recovery and always know your Vol family is here praying and pulling for you.

Let's play football. Hounddog.

tennezz writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Blah! Blah! Blah!

junder13 writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That "star tackle" you mentioned is in JUCO now b/c he didn't make his grades, not Virginia. Oh, and the other of the three was pretty much dropped by Florida St b/c he showed up over 350lbs and out-of-shape. The third is the only one worth his salt, and he stuck w/ his commitment to UT (Schofield). Stand up for Fulmer all you want but a real UT fan isn't more supportive of an ex-coach over his team. Personally, I'd prefer you just find a new team. Maybe your fav coach will get lucky and be hired by someone else, although I wouldn't place any bets on that.

There's more talent left on this team than many give Fulmer credit for, but it sure isn't on the O-line. Just like all your comments, you're way off basis saying otherwise.

txsvol#372416 writes:

Josh has been hurt and undersized for his position, ahd he has played on grit and technique. I hope that he returns. He had an arthroscopic procedure, probably just to clean out the scar, and maybe correct something like a partial meniscal tear. This way, he can play when the swelling goes down this year. But, if his knee doesn't hold up, such as the correction of an unstable knee (probably has one, but will play with a brace), would require season-ending surgery. No inside information. Just guessing! Go Vols! SAVol

finn writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Josh has had knee issues long before Kiffin's arrival on campus. While I truly feel for Josh and think he is a great representative of our team, football is a physical sport. Under Fulmer, he would have been fine in the offseason only to be lost in an actual game to a career ending chop block. With luck, his surgery will be a success and he can have the season he deserves. Blaming Kiffin is pathetic.

Volunatic writes:

in response to Alt_news:

Kiffin, Mathien and McVeigh are setting themselves up for a lawsuit on this one.

Who does the doctor work for?

Wow. What an insider you are.
The answer is "KOC".

PlaidinOrangeandWhite writes:

Does anyone know who will be backing up Sullins at center now?

footballtime writes:

in response to TonyGeist:

So, McNeil gets hurt last week. He voluntarily chooses to play through the pain. Then, through a series of unfortunate events, he gets hurt again and needs surgery. Yeah, Kiffin's really setting himself up for a lawsuit.

wow why don't you go sit on the bench with John Adams this is a sport you do not understand nor should you be making comments about it...a real athelete is what Mcneil is and always will be this is what they do... they love the sport and always want to be out there...jock sniffers like you and Adams make my stomach turn stay on the bench and watch

TonyGeist writes:

in response to footballtime:

wow why don't you go sit on the bench with John Adams this is a sport you do not understand nor should you be making comments about it...a real athelete is what Mcneil is and always will be this is what they do... they love the sport and always want to be out there...jock sniffers like you and Adams make my stomach turn stay on the bench and watch

Hey, Mr. Douche-asaurus, how 'bout you learn what sarcasm is. I was actually TAKING McNeil's side. Which you would know, had you bothered to read the comment ahead of mine, towards which I was directing the sarcasm. Until you gain an ounce of brain matter and become capable of properly punctuating your sentences, you shouldn't come out of your hole.

Ironcity writes:

in response to PlaidinOrangeandWhite:

Does anyone know who will be backing up Sullins at center now?

His brother

Alt_news (Inactive) writes:

in response to Volunatic:

Wow. What an insider you are.
The answer is "KOC".

<<The answer is "KOC".>>

You missed the point, genius.

Does the doctor work for the coaches or the patient?

Of course, Mathien would say that he works for the patient. That is hardly obvious given the way that the "reporting" lines are drawn.

It is also peculiar that "KOC" (actually SEO, now, genius) has it's own physician employee who provides general practitioner services to the athletes - rather than using an independent Student health Services physician, as had been the case until orthopedic docs started taking pay cuts and ned to find a way to make more money from UTAD.

Finally, UT is setting itself up for a lawsuit by threatening its athletes if they choose to use the doctor of their choice. If Josh or any other scholarship athlete chooses to use someone other than the UT contract cutters, UT won't pay a dime for the surgery.

So, if you want to have your knee done by Dr. Andrews' clinic in Birmingham, UT won't pay for any of it.

That won't hold up in court, but no kid or his parent has yet challenged it.

txsvol#372416 writes:

I'm sure that the orthopedists who work with our team are as capable as Dr. Andrews, or any other big name orthopedist. Dr. Andrews himself has attributed his good results to his superior rehab team. SAVol

Alt_news (Inactive) writes:

<<I'm sure that the orthopedists who work with our team are as capable as Dr. Andrews, or any other big name orthopedist>>

So what? Why shouldn't the patient decide?

Two reasons: control (the coaches want it) and money (the SOC docs want it.)

The players are nothing more than (in Mike Hamilton's often-used words) "product."

Alt_news (Inactive) writes:

The patient should decide especially since it is the player's parents' insurance that is considered primary for filing purposes.

The family's insurance usually covers most of these surgeries, although the insured practically cedes his medical service selection rights to the school.

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