Posted: 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013
By Jason Lieser
Gators RG Jon Halapio went through a lot to get back on the field.
Halapio, a red-shirt senior, tore his left pectoral muscle while weightlifting in July and has been out ever since. He plans to make his season debut against Tennessee on Saturday (3:30 p.m., CBS).
He missed all of training camp and the first two games of the year before returning to the field full-time last week.
“It feels good to be out there with everybody else, actually doing team stuff and doing live combo drills and stuff like that,” he said today in his first comments since the team’s media day Aug. 1. “It feels real good to be back out there with those guys.
“It’s always tough to watch from the sidelines, not playing, first and foremost. And it’s always tough watching on the sidelines when we’re struggling like that offensively.”
There are concerns about Halapio’s comeback.
For starters, there seems to be a reasonable chance of reinjuring it. Halapio will wear a special brace around the left side of his chest for protection. It is difficult to tell exactly what type of brace he will wear, but this photo is a decent guess:
The brace should keep his shoulder are compressed and in place, which will limit the possibility of him tearing the muscle again. That will help as he tries to replenish his strength.
Halapio endured quite a bit to get back. As part of the process, he said he needed a platelet-rich plasma injection and “resting and a lot of the treatment stuff that the athletic training staff has been doing.”
He also missed spring football while recovering from post-season knee surgery
Halapio (6-3, 320) started 28 straight games before missing this year’s season opener. Since arriving at Florida in 2009, he played in 41 games and started 33. He is the Gators’ most experienced and proven offensive lineman.