UM’s Grant Newsome eager to 'take the reins off' on rehab

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Paris, France – Michigan offensive lineman Grant Newsome remains optimistic he will return to football from the devastating knee injury he suffered during the 2016 season, but there is a lingering physical issue that’s holding up his return.

Had it not been for quick recognition by the Michigan medical staff, Newsome nearly lost his leg. A 30-minute window separated him from that fate. Newsome has described it as his leg was “dying.”

He spent 38 days in the hospital, including the first 10 in intensive care, and had six surgeries in 40 days.

Newsome is with his teammates in Paris and is moving well. That’s a far cry from this time last year in Rome when he was still struggling to walk long distances.

His goal was to return to practice this spring but Newsome did not get medical clearance. He is confident and hopeful he will be able to practice with the team during preseason camp this fall.

“Just waiting for one nagging thing to come along, one kind of piece of it,” Newsome said Tuesday during a break in the team’s activities in Montmartre that included a treasure hunt around Sacre Coeur and a community service project working with the city’s homeless.

MORE: Injured Newsome still pitching in for UM coaching staff​

“That is coming. It’s the type of thing we can’t control or can’t speed up. We’re waiting on that thing and once that gets back to where we feel comfortable, we’ll take the reins off.”

Newsome was able to go through full conditioning this spring. But he did not practice, and although he did run one offensive line drill during the team’s coaching clinic in Paris last Saturday, he hopes to have a practice routine set for the fall.

“Feeling good. I’m feeling good,” Newsome said of his recovery. “Been the common theme throughout this is I’m feeling good. I feel like I’m ready to play but just waiting on the doctors still.

“It’s definitely a unique injury so there’s not really a set timetable, which has been frustrating to me. Considering where we were when we started, we’ve thoroughly exceeded every expectation.”

MORE:Michigan's Newsome almost lost leg, but has plenty of heart

The possibility remains that he may have to sit out another season, which certainly would not be his first choice. Newsome sat out last season and was a student coach for the team.

“Obviously I don’t want to do that,” Newsome said. “It would be an option that’s on the table because I have three years to play two still, but that’s not the intention at all. That’s not the goal. I’ve been very straight up with the doctors and coach (Jim) Harbaugh and saying, ‘If I need the medical, I need the medical,’ but that hasn’t been the message from either the coaching staff or from my doctors that they feel that’s necessary.

“We’re still very much active to working back to getting back as soon as possible. We’ll see if that’s this fall, but that’s the goal.”

Newsome is bright and sharp. He has opinions on social and political and NCAA issues that he never hesitates to share on social media.

He also has a different perspective on football and life.

MORE:Newsome: 'My leg was dying'

“Any time you have that kind of major life event, your perspective on things changes,” he said, before referencing a comment teammate Ben Bredeson made while visiting Normandy, that football is small compared to the sacrifices military personnel have made. “I kind of saw that be evidenced in my life very quickly, how football is just one small aspect of life and you get an appreciation for that, but at the same time, it’s hard to quit it when you’re so thoroughly invested.”

A year ago in Rome, Newsome spoke at length for the first time about his injury. A year later, he remains as motivated as ever to return to the game he loves.

“We’ve come really far,” Newsome said. “(I) was still struggling to walk long distances at that point. Now we’re running, jumping. It’s been remarkable how far we’ve really come. A lot of appreciation for the training staff, the doctors, the people day in and day out working with me.

“Still a little more to go, but it really is remarkable how far we’ve come in just a year.”