THE PROCESS: Porter injures knee in first game, lost for season

Seth Porter took the handoff, intending to run the sweep to the outside, get into a running lane and explode more than 50 yards into the end zone.

 

But once the Estacado junior running back got into the alley and planted, his knee didn’t cut along with him.

Instead, it twisted in place. His first carry against Hereford ,and of the season, had gone horribly wrong.

“I was about to cut back and the defender was running across, and it felt like it buckled,” Porter recalled. “ One play and done. I didn’t think I was done, but I kinda knew I was done. I couldn’t walk on it, I couldn’t run. I couldn’t play anymore.”

Worthwhile risk

Porter knew some of the risk of playing on a partially torn ACL. He did the rehab and worked his way back , and everything seemed to be going according to plan.

Porter initially hurt his knee in spring practice, the partial tear forced him to miss the end of track season and potentially the early part of his football campaign. Estacado coach Marcus Shavers expected to have Porter back for the Lubbock High game or maybe by the start of District 1-4A play.

But, Porter seemingly responded so well to the treatment, he was cleared earlier than expected.

“When we came out of spring ball and through fall camp we didn’t expect Seth to be ready until midway through the season,” Shavers said. “His rehab went well and the doctors cleared him and everyone thought he was good-to-go, so we gave him the opportunity.”

And for good reason.

As a sophomore, Porter ran for 545 yards and nine touchdowns. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry as he handled backup duties to the Matador’s lead back, Tyrese Nathan – a 2,000 yard back who scored 19 touchdowns as a senior and is currently playing with Division II Angelo State University.

His junior year, partially torn ACL or not, was supposed to be his turn. That opportunity ended on the first play of Estacado’s season opener against Hereford. And as he watched on the sideline, the Matadors fell to Whitefaces, 35-27.

“I know it is hard for him. … I know it is tough and he wishes he was out there,” Estacado running backs coach Casen De Lucia said. “ But, (now) it is just letting him know he is a part of this team because I know it is eating at him inside. I know he had these plans to have a 2,000-yard season and a big year and multiple touchdown games.”

The injury

It was the slightly audible pop that worried Shavers.

When he first saw it, heard it, he was it was nothing but scar tissue breaking loose in his starting running back’s knee.

“Sometimes when you come back after healing and if you don’t work it all out during rehab you break it down and you hear a pop and it feels weak and may take a while to get over,” Shavers said. “Sure, tearing his ACL completely crossed my mind, but that was not the thought I wanted. I was optimistic until we got the results back and it ended up being the worst-case scenario.”

Porter will miss the entire season, he is set for surgery this weekend to repair the now fully torn ACL and his meniscus. Shavers is hopeful Porter will be back by the end of the track season.

“We are doing what we call pre-hab and it is some simple muscle exercises so we can get him as strong as we can before the surgery because he is going to get knocked down again,” Estacado trainer Todd Faison said. “The hardest part is telling him his season is over. But, he is a junior and he has another season to play I have had this conversation with seniors before and you have to tell them they are done. Then you have to motivate them to go through the rehab because surgery is about 20 percent of the process. You can have a bad rehab and have a bad knee.”

The fact isn’t lost on Porter.

“I gotta make sure (my knees) are right,” he said. “You aren’t going to go anywhere if you have bad knees. Nowhere.”

Next man up

Porter didn’t want to believe it. He missed so much time already.

“It was rough we kind of had an idea he might not have been ready to go but overall he is going to be a team player,” De Lucia said. “Seeing him on the sidelines keeping the guys up, even though he might not be on the field he has a role on this team. He can still talk to them about what they need to work on.”

Filling the void Friday was senior Kemadrick Williams and sophomore Jermiah Dobbins.

“I just told them to keep moving forward and I will do what I can to help them make sure they are running the right plays and running the right routes and I will be there for the team even though I can’t play,” said Porter who watched as Estacado defeated Dumas 48-17 last Thursday.

Williams said: “My first thought was I gotta step up and lead because Jermiah is a sophomore, and I played at running back my first two years. When he went down I knew we have to be a two-headed monster.”

They were.

Williams rushed nine times for 79 yards and a touchdown, including a 65-yard jaunt in the fourth quarter, in the win. Meanwhile, Dobbins displayed an ability to find running lanes and burst through them. The sophomore running back rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns.

“Injuries will set you back, hurt your team and hurt you personally and having a good support system is critical and that is what we have to continue to be for Seth,” Shavers said. “We have a kid that is going through an extremely difficult time psychically, mentally and emotionally and we have to make sure we are there for that kid and uplifting that kid and keep him involved.”

 

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