Derrick Locke has made a somewhat miraculous recovery from major knee surgery to emerge as one of the most versatile threats in the Southeastern Conference, as he ranks third in the league in all-purpose yards. Locke sat out last week's Eastern Kentucky game after suffering torn scar tissue in the surgically repaired knee, but he will be back on the field Saturday at Vanderbilt.
Question: In hindsight, was sitting out the Eastern Kentucky game better for you in the long run?
Answer: I'm never going to be glad to take a week off. But I'm healthy now, I'm feeling good, I feel productive and I'm ready to play. You don't understand how much pain and soreness we have after the game. Just the little nagging injuries, those are all gone.
Q: After the injury, there were whispers that you might not play again, but you were adamant over the summer that you would be ready for the start of the season and not skip a beat. Have you met your own expectations?
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A: You can never be satisfied. I'm not going to sit here and feel like I made it. But I feel like I've done things people didn't expect me to do. They probably felt like I wasn't going to come back the same guy. I feel like I can do the same things I always could do, if not better. This process has made me a better player and a better person. I'm not going to say it was for the best, of course you don't want to get hurt, but sometimes you have to go through something to get you to that next step. I felt like that's what this has done for me.
Q: How concerned were you about this latest injury?
A: I wasn't too worried. As soon as I saw that it wasn't any of my ligaments or anything like that. It's really just pain management. You're going to play hurt in this league. You're not going to be 100 percent, especially at this time of the year. As long as you feel productive, you should be ready to play.
Q: They say a player doesn't fully recover from a major knee injury until one full year after the original injury. Does this have you looking forward to 2010?
A: I'm not even thinking about next year right now. I'm just trying to finish out this season strong, get as many yards as I can, and help our team win these games. After the bowl game, if we reach a bowl, we can talk about next year.