tampabay.com

Meinrod finds humor, hope in injury

By BRIAN LANDMAN
Published October 10, 2005


TALLAHASSEE - Even if a horrific injury might cost him the rest of his senior season, offensive guard Matt Meinrod hasn't lost his sense of humor.

"From what I'm hearing, (teammate) David ( Castillo ) went for the (loose) ball and I guess he just mistook my foot for the ball," he said, laughing, Sunday afternoon.

Meinrod, the former East Lake star who had established himself as the line's top blocker and one of its most valuable leaders, was hit from behind and fractured his left fibula and dislocated his left ankle early in the second half.

He said he will have a MRI exam Tuesday, which should give doctors a better idea of possible ligament damage to the ankle, and he is set for surgery Thursday.

"I knew it right away," he said, adding that he saw his ankle pointed one way, his leg the other.

For him, it was deja vu. He tore the ACL in his right knee in the second half's opening minutes against Miami in last year's opener. He didn't even "stub his toe" during his high school career or his first three seasons here.

But he's surprisingly upbeat.

"If I can't joke about it, who can?" he said. "I don't get upset about injuries. It's not like I was drunk driving and got into a car accident. This is what I want to do. I'm not ignorant to the fact that injuries happen. And I know this isn't going to be my last football game; I have that much confidence in my ability to play at the next level, be it Europe, the NFL, wherever. I'm going to play another game."

It might even be at FSU.

Meinrod, who has accepted an invitation to play in a postseason all-star game (the Jan.14 Las Vegas All-American Classic), said he has been told it could take 12 weeks to regain his range of motion after surgery, which likely will include the insertion of pins and a plate in his leg and possibly pins in his ankle.

He was told the ACL injury would take nine months, and he believed he could have played by the Gator Bowl, four months after the opener. He didn't rush back so as not to affect this season.

"Last year, I had a season to look forward to," he said. "This is the year I was coming back for."

Though FSU could seek a medical redshirt and a sixth year of eligibility for him, it's unlikely one would be granted given Meinrod sat out his freshman season, then played in five games this season.

"I've only got one college game I have the potential to play, so I will do everything I can to come back," said Meinrod, who promised to be at meetings and practices to help the less experienced linemen. "I'm not going to be conservative."

Or down.