Two days removed from tearing the ACL in his right knee, Cedar Cliff tight end Adam Breneman knows the most difficult part hasn’t come yet.
It won’t come when he has the surgery to repair the torn ligament and it won’t come during the months of rehab to get the strength and dexterity back in his knee. It’s going to come on Aug. 31.
That’s when Cedar Cliff will open the 2012 football season against Conestoga Valley without its star tight end — that’s when Breneman will realize that his season is lost.
“It’s the mental part that’s going to be the toughest,” Breneman said. “Not playing for eight months and not putting on pads. It’s gonna be tough to sit out that long and see my teammates play on Friday nights without me.”
Breneman injured the knee during a 7-on-7 scrimmage against East Pennsboro on Thursday, and his worst expectations where confirmed Friday when an MRI revealed the tear in his ACL. According to Breneman, the injury occurred when he jumped to catch a ball on a seam route and landed awkwardly.
“I felt something shift or pop,” he said. “I knew right away that something was wrong.”
Breneman, who verbally committed to Penn State on March 9, will travel to State College Monday to meet with Penn State team doctor Wayne Sebastianelli, who will perform the surgery to repair the knee.
Keeping sure to adhere to NCAA restrictions, Breneman has also spoke with Penn State coach Bill O’Brien as well as assistants John Strollo and Larry Johnson Sr., about the injury.
“They made me a lot better about it,” Breneman said. “Coach O’Brien talked about guys that he’s coached that have come back from ACL injuries. I think that if I put in the work and rehab that I’ll come back.”
With his senior football and basketball seasons lost, Breneman is considering enrolling early at Penn State next January, but said he still needs to sit down with his advisors at Cedar Cliff and the academic staff at Penn State before he makes a final decision.
In the meantime Breneman, who caught 72 passes for 1,120 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, will remain a fixture at Cedar Cliff practices and workouts as the team prepares for the upcoming season.
“I’m still gonna be there for all the practices and all of the games with my team,” Breneman said. “I told the other tight ends that I’m gonna help coach them and be there for workouts.”
He’s gotten support from teammates and Colts coach Jim Cantafio. He’s even gotten support from fellow Penn State commits like quarterback Christian Hackenberg , who Breneman was hoping to work with at an upcoming camp in Georgia.
The only camps he might lose support from are the recruiting services that had Breneman ranked among the nation’s top recruits prior to the injury. Whatever effect the injury has on his national perception doesn’t matter, though.
What matters is doing the work to get back on the field.
“All of those things won’t matter,” Breneman said. “I’m sure my ranking will drop. But I’ll go to Penn State and prove that I’m the No. 1 tight end in the country.”