BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Sometimes there are bad days for Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
Coming off his second torn ACL, Penix is spending his third-straight offseason rehabbing from an injury. Sometimes, his leg is stiff, which makes things difficult. Sometimes, there's mental fatigue on going to rehab instead of being in the weight room or on the field with his teammates. Those are the bad days.
But Penix doesn't let those bad days linger. He attacks everything he does with a positive mindset, and even if there is a bad day, he knows a good one will follow.
"Maybe you have some days where you don't feel good," Penix said Monday. "It doesn't affect anything really. I still get everything done that I need to get."
Penix tore his ACL in the third quarter of Indiana's game versus Maryland on Nov. 28, 2020.
Right after the injury, Penix said he was pretty down on himself, but that was short-lived thanks to the support around him.
"Just getting help from my family, friends and teammates, they kept me up, kept me positive," Penix said. "This is something I do not wish on anybody and nobody wishes they were in this position, but having them on my side, pushing me every single day, telling me to stay motivated and to continue to chase my dream, that was really helpful. That was something that really helped me get through it and I feel like I am still trying to stay positive."
Penix is still solely rehabbing and knows the on-field stuff will come later. He hasn't started to run yet, but he is able to walk.
He mentioned that with the recent snowfall in Bloomington, he has been extra careful when walking so he doesn't slip on any ice. But as of right now, Penix is on schedule, if not ahead of schedule, in his recovery process.
"Right now, I am on schedule, if not a little bit ahead of schedule. I have been working extremely hard to get back," Penix said. "I am doing everything I can to go out and just continue to help motivate the team, be a leader, even though I cannot do certain activities. But I have been doing really well, progressing every week and I feel myself getting a lot stronger and feeling more comfortable with my body."
For Indiana strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman, he hasn't started working directly with Penix yet.
Right now, Penix is rehabbing with Indiana's medical team, but Wellman has still noticed the daily grind and positivity Penix has brought to the process so far.
"Mike has done a fantastic job of really just locking in to the daily disciplines associated with coming back from that," Wellman said. "There are good days and there are some bad days, so just pushing through those bad days and celebrating those small wins on his road to recovery."
Whenever Penix is able to return to the weight room and begin working with Wellman and his teammates, Wellman has a program ready specifically for Penix.
"Just trying to regain strength and power in that leg. Regain symmetry between the left and the right leg. The injured and the non-injured leg," he said. "And then working closely with our medical team on where we need to go with rehab. But our medical team is fantastic and has done a great job with Mike."
The billion dollar question for Penix on Monday was if he'd be ready to play for Indiana's season-opener against Iowa on Sept. 4.
Penix said he is mainly focused on his rehab right now, and he's not focused on the on-field stuff at the moment. The biggest deal for Penix is not enduring any setbacks, which is all he cares about, but the Hoosier quarterback couldn't help himself from making a proclamation at the end of his answer.
"I know for sure that I'll be ready come game day," Penix said.
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