Donaldson details rehab and return to field

Donaldson details rehab and return to field

Stefan Adams
Following Tuesday’s practice, OL Navaughn Donaldson detailed his long journey back to the field which culminated in his return at Duke this weekend on the same field he tore his ACL and MCL in the 2019 regular season finale.

“At first, I didn’t realize how serious it was until I heard from some players that had the same injury as me - it’s a long process… It was a lot of pain from being at the hospital to being home to not even being able to walk on it for six months,” Donaldson said. “To learn how to bend it again was a long process mentally and physically. It was a long process, but with the staff we have here, I was able to get stronger, faster with their help and also feel good mentally and physically.”

As for where he currently is physically, Donaldson doesn’t feel like he’s completely back to where he was, but he does feel comfortable enough to help provide UM some depth on the OL down the stretch in 2020.

“I’m not full speed like I used to be, but I’m focused on being able to contribute, that’s it,” Donaldson said. “The process was harder than practice sometimes - when I got back to practice, I was happy at how hard rehab was.”

Donaldson played a big role at LG after Jakai Clark left the game with an injury, including paving the way for a 34-yard Harris TD run in the first quarter

“I was ready to help - it was just good,” Donaldson said. “It was good to get back in a game. My mindset was if I play, play as fast as possible, as hard as possible - if I make a mistake, oh well. Just go play, have fun.”

In addition to his rehab, Donaldson also had to adjust to playing in Rhett Lashlee’s new offense this season, an attack known for its fast-paced nature.

“I love it,” Donaldson said of the offense. “Going back to my freshman year, pretty much the same tempo. This tempo is a little bit faster, but the plays are simple. Just play hard. I love the offensive coordinator, schemes. It’s really good for me.”

Of course, Miami also brought in a new offensive line coach over the offseason, and Donaldson gave his thoughts on how it has been working with Garin Justice.

“It comes from his personality, coach Justice is an amazing coach, a laid-back type of guy, but he’ll work you hard,” Donaldson said. “You’ll know what you did wrong if you made a mistake. The best approach he has is if you make a mistake, it’ll be 100 percent your fault and you’re able to fix it. Just play hard, practice fast. We work fast, work hard, work on great technique.”

With the NCAA offering an extra year of eligibility for the athletes due to the pandemic, the senior OL expects to return to Miami in 2021.

“The plan was for me to redshirt, but since this year doesn’t count it’s just a free year. It is what it is,” Donaldson said. “For this offseason, I’m just going to work as hard as I can, that’s it. Be in here all the time, see the trainers, be in the weight room more than I’d usually be. Come in, get something done, watch more film. That’s one thing we did this season that’s helped us.”

Comments (14)

When they asked him how much he weighs now, that boy plead the fifth quick af.. lol..

He gonna grind this offseason, good to see him back out there
I can tell you firsthand how hard it is to come back from an ACL and MCL. I had the Jaguars surgeon do mine and rehabbed at his facility for 11 months. It’s grueling and more painful than anything I’ve ever experienced by far. I’m proud on Big Don for coming back. I wasn’t sure he would. He’s probably in better shape than he believes himself right now. In the big picture, this maybe a godsend for him. He knows now how to work hard. The gym and practice will be easy compared to what he went through. Once he realizes he’s ready I honestly feel bad for the guy he’s blocking. Don was blessed with a body to be an NFL guard. It’s always been about the mindset for him. I expect big things from the dude next season. You add in Nelson, Rivers, Walker, and the upperclassmen...this OL could legit be top 10 next season. I would stay if I were King.
Justice is the type of coach that can get the most out of his kids. I bet Donaldson loses that weight and regains his bend. Looking forward to a phenomenal 2021 season from him. If he gets back to form, we will have the makings of a really good OL.
Man reminds me when I tore my Achilles twice, once in each leg. Rehab process was was intense. Glad to see him back on the field after all that. Definitely will be needed for bama.
Justice is the type of coach that can get the most out of his kids. I bet Donaldson loses that weight and regains his bend. Looking forward to a phenomenal 2021 season from him. If he gets back to form, we will have the makings of a really good OL.
Yeah I think our OL next year might be one of our best in a while. Hopefully Donaldson and Rivers step up and compete with Clark/Scaife for the guard spots. Then we could kick Scaife out to RT to replace Williams.
This interview reads like someone (the Big Man) realizes that his time in college is running out and if he wants his dream of playing professionally to come true, the time is now to get into shape and convince NFL teams that he can easily consistently effective player. If you can’t get into shape in college the league will have no interest and all of Navaughn’s natural gifts will be for nothing. He’ll be a giant, fat guy sitting on a couch.
the kid realizes that next year is his last opportunity to either make millions in the NFL, or work the rest of his life at a 9-5 job wondering what could have been.

Trust me, the kid is not going to throw away this off season.
This guy we missed him more than i thought. He cleaned that hole out for that Harris TD run. Our offense is predicated on being able to run for good yards then go fast. I think we will be unstoppable once we get a offseason. Remember Lashlee had no spring practice with a new QB , who was himself new to the other players. This coaching job is underrated but im straying. Glad he is back. First round talent.

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