Lewis played entire season with torn ACL

Published 01/30 2014 04:39PM

Updated 01/30 2014 09:55PM

URBANA, Ill. - Illinois senior offensive lineman Corey Lewis' story has been told many times before.  Three torn ACLs and five knee surgeries in five years.  He was given a sixth year of eligibility, which he played from start to finish - only to find out after the season he played the entire year with a torn ACL.

The doctors think it happened sometime before the season, and Lewis played the entire year with that torn ACL.  He knew something didn't feel right, but he didn't know it was that sever until after the season when he went in for an MRI.

"I went in, and I remember the call like it was yesterday," Lewis said.  "Doctor [Jerrad] Zimmerman called.  He said, 'I hate to break it to you buddy, but I'm not seeing the ACL.'  The ACL graft that was put in just never took from the previous surgery."

Lewis said he never had a moment where he felt like the ACL re-tore, but knew starting in camp that something wasn't right.  He admits he withheld information from the coaches and doctors, who surely would've forced him to miss more time.

"It was my sixth year," Lewis recalled.  "I've been battling through injuries my whole career, so I didn't want to be that guy to come in and be like 'I'm hurt again.'  I was solidified in the starting spot, and I wanted to play."

Lewis had another knee surgery in December - his sixth such surgery in six years - which he hopes will fix the ACL for good.  He rehabbing on campus until sometime this spring when he plans to relocate to Florida.  He'll work at a more specialized rehab and training facility in hopes of getting a chance to play in the NFL.

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