Smokey on the mend after surgery

Dr. Darryl Millis, an orthopedic surgeon and surgery section chief at the UT Veterinary Medical Center, performs an arthroscopy on Smokey, the University of Tennessee mascot, on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. (Phil Snow/UT College of Veterinary Medicine)

Photo by Phil Snow/UT College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Darryl Millis, an orthopedic surgeon and surgery section chief at the UT Veterinary Medical Center, performs an arthroscopy on Smokey, the University of Tennessee mascot, on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. (Phil Snow/UT College of Veterinary Medicine)

Junior Smokey teases Smokey during the fourth quarter of Tennessee's game against Vanderbilt at Neyland Stadium on Saturday. Smokey has been bothered most of the season by a knee injury and has undergone therapy. 
  
 (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2011

Junior Smokey teases Smokey during the fourth quarter of Tennessee's game against Vanderbilt at Neyland Stadium on Saturday. Smokey has been bothered most of the season by a knee injury and has undergone therapy. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tennessee's football program has taken the first step toward recovery. Smokey is doing fine after surgery.

Smokey, UT's 8-year-old blue-tick coonhound mascot, struggled through the 5-7 2011 season with an impaired right rear leg. Despite extensive physical therapy, he couldn't avoid post-season surgery to repair a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament.

"The surgery went well with no surprises," said Dr. Darryl Millis, orthopedic surgeon and surgery section chief at UT Veterinary Medical Center. "Smokey is a very fit dog with good muscle tone."

Millis performed the 2½-hour operation Tuesday. A day later, Smokey was on the move, just not as quickly as usual.

"He's a competitor," Millis said. "He wants to be up and moving."

Smokey was scheduled to return home late Wednesday afternoon and will begin rehabilitation therapy shortly. Once that's complete, another operation is in the works.

Millis said it's common when a dog has a cruciate tear in one knee for the condition to occur in the other knee as well. If everything goes as scheduled, Smokey could have surgery on his left rear knee in March and be fine for the 2012 football season.

"He should be able to go full throttle (in the fall)," Millis said.

Smokey first had problems in UT's second game last October. After his injury was diagnosed, he underwent regular therapy for the rest of the season, and his activities on game day were limited.

John Adams is a senior columnist. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

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Comments » 20

dirty_don writes:

Go get em smoke

TommyJack writes:

Riveting.

CantStandCantStandSaban writes:

When's signing day again?

BigVolFaninSC writes:

Get well soon Smokie! Look forward to seeing you take a bite out of some opposing player when they get near the end-zone! GBO!

RockyTopVolFan writes:

Get well soon Smokey...
Spring will be here soon and you know what that means!
Grrrrrrrrreat!
Go VOLS!

etu_vol_fan writes:

I wonder if it is a 9 month rehab for dogs too?

p3t3rpan writes:

Just curious ... who paid for this approx. $5,000.00 procedure?

Noogaorange writes:

Rehab hard Smokey. We're going to need you prowling the end zone for us. GBO

Luigi writes:

Darryl Millis is NOT even listed by the state of Tennessee as having a LICENSE to practice as a veterinarian. Apparently, he has not paid any professional license fees to the state. Why would anyone allow an unlicensed vet do surgery on their animal??

p3t3rpan writes:

in response to Luigi:

Darryl Millis is NOT even listed by the state of Tennessee as having a LICENSE to practice as a veterinarian. Apparently, he has not paid any professional license fees to the state. Why would anyone allow an unlicensed vet do surgery on their animal??

You are right .. a query to http://health.state.tn.us/licensure/ for D Millis returns zippo.

alesanwc#218041 writes:

Any vet who handles orthopedic cases will tell you Dr. Millis is an elite veterinary ortho. surgeon. For what it's worth he also invented the water treadmill where animals with ortho. repairs rehab. He and his rehab therapists got my dog back to 100 percent quickly after ACL surgery. Animal lovers are fortunate to have Dr. Millis and the entire UT Vet staff here in our backyard. They are truly miracle workers.

VolAtUGA11 writes:

in response to Luigi:

Darryl Millis is NOT even listed by the state of Tennessee as having a LICENSE to practice as a veterinarian. Apparently, he has not paid any professional license fees to the state. Why would anyone allow an unlicensed vet do surgery on their animal??

Why on earth after reading this article did you take the time to look up this guy's license info? Did UT kill your best friend's pet goldfish? Maybe Smokey won't stop peeing on your otherwise perfect lawn? Or is it that you have nothing better to do than mistrust everything and everyone to the point of paranoia? Odd.

Get 'em, Smoke!

AirForceVol writes:

My howls go out to you Smoke! I bet you'll recover faster than that punk UGA would have!

ncvol17 writes:

Once again, this site shows there are some mighty odd folks in this world..and they have no clue that they are

rockypop writes:

in response to p3t3rpan:

Just curious ... who paid for this approx. $5,000.00 procedure?

How do you know it cost $5,000?

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor hear they use Peytons Dr. and he fly in some stem cells. Witch Doctor hear they are from the great Greyhound champ "Sniffles" (RIP..shot after last race..Witch Doctor say you think your retirement plan is tough!) lol. . Witch Doctor say and they call me a Voodoo Doctor(?)
Bones never lie.

UTVolTN1 writes:

in response to Luigi:

Darryl Millis is NOT even listed by the state of Tennessee as having a LICENSE to practice as a veterinarian. Apparently, he has not paid any professional license fees to the state. Why would anyone allow an unlicensed vet do surgery on their animal??

Veterinarians in the employ of the University are exempted from licensure.
2010 Tennessee Code
Title 63 - Professions Of The Healing Arts
Chapter 12 - Veterinarians
63-12-133 - Exemptions.
(3) Any veterinarian in the employ of a state agency or the United States government while actually engaged in the performance of the veterinarian's official duties.

GetSimmsandTeagueout writes:

It's a shame how little the general public knows about veterinary medicine.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to p3t3rpan:

Just curious ... who paid for this approx. $5,000.00 procedure?

I certainly hope is was from your tax money

dj54 writes:

he will be okay, he is from good stock

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