Darius Brown tried to put nothing but positive thoughts into his head, but he knew the second he felt it "pop" that it was bad, real bad.
For whatever reason, a rash of knee injuries had riddled Eisenhower High School players the first part of the 2011 season, so when Brown went down against Edmond Memorial, he had a sneaking suspicion that his number had been called.
"All season we had been losing people to knee injuries," said the quiet-spoken, well-mannered senior linebacker. "Whenever I felt the pop, I thought automatically something was wrong. I tried to think positive going to the sideline. They did some tests (on the sideline). I thought it was all right. He (Ike trainer Scott Buehre) told me to get off the injury table and see if I could run. I ran a little and felt OK. Then he wanted to see if I could cut. That's when it bothered me."
The following morning Brown made the trip to the Sports and Rehabilitation Center at Southwestern Medical Center to access the damage. After a battery of MRIs, Brown's worst fears were realized; he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Anyone who knows the least bit about torn ACLs knows what that means surgery and the months of rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, football injuries and rehabilitation weren't foreign to Brown. Two weeks prior to tearing his ACL last season, he had dislocated a thumb.
"It was the last play of the (Choctaw) game," Brown said. "I mean, there was one second left. I went to push off a player and hurt my thumb. They tried to push it back in right after the game, but they couldn't."
That began what was to be a long night for Brown, and his dad, 1st Sergeant Michael Brown. At the first hospital they went, Darius was given several shots to deaden the pain. Attending physicians tried to push the thumb back in place, but were not able.