January 4, 2014

Still a winner

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. | There was a brief moment when Joshua Holsey hoped that the pain he felt in his left knee one October night would be transient.

Then he tried to move it. The pain was too much.

"I knew right then that I wouldn't play another snap this season," Holsey said Saturday. "I wasn't even able to process anything else at that second. I just knew this was a different feeling. A bad feeling. It was a freak thing, really. It's just how things happen sometimes."

Holsey, the Tigers' starter at boundary safety, was working a non-contact drill the night of Oct. 17 when wideout Marcus Davis fell into Holsey's knee. They both were going for the ball. Davis dived for it and Holsey, anticipating Davis' trajectory, planted his left leg to gain leverage. The goal was to move his right leg out of the way.

The calculations didn't work.

Davis instead crashed into Holsey's left leg and snapped the defensive back's anterior cruciate ligament. It was a major blow at a bad time -- Auburn traveled to Texas A&M two days later.

"The timing wasn't great, but nothing's great when you tear an ACL," Holsey said. "It was tough knowing that I wouldn't be able to play anymore this year."

Perspective was a phone call away.

Holsey's father, Jonathan, lost his left leg in 2004 to an improvised explosive device while serving with the 2nd Infantry Division in southern Iraq. Jonathan Holsey walks with help of a prosthesis, but began running marathons a few years back.

Joshua Holsey said his father's plight and the resiliency he's shown put the knee injury into new light.

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