After missing the entire 2008 season following a right ACL injury, the senior captain was forced to skip the prime-time showdown with the Hawkeyes due to a sprained left knee sustained the previous week in a win over Temple.
Though Lee dressed for the Iowa game, he now admits he only did so to serve as captain. He said reports that the staff had to hide his helmet to keep him off the field were exaggerated.
“I wouldn't have been able to go out there and play well,” Lee said. “And I'm not going to go out there and hurt the team. I would have loved to try, I would have loved to play against Iowa in a game like that, but there was no point.”
His next goal is to be ready for this week's road trip to Illinois. Lee did not practice Monday and does not have a feel for when he may return to the field. He said he has just recently started to jog again.
“As the knee gets better each day, it's going to feel more and more normal,” Lee said. “I've been letting the doc tell me what I can do each day and I'm going from there.”
When he returns to action, Lee will be wearing a brace. He reports that the brace can be restricting, but he believes he'll adjust to it.
Clearly, this is not what he had in mind for his final go-round in Happy Valley.
“It's extremely frustrating,” Lee said. “I worked for 20 month to get back to play, and now it's the same situation. It is not what I expected or wanted at all.”
So how is he coping, especially after a tough loss?
“I'm just going to stay positive and fight through it,” Lee said. “That's all I can do right now.”