Michael Nero out for the season with ACL tear


Jack Grossman

Nero (12, #27) sustained his injury in the Aug. 29 game against Fern Creek. Photo by Kate Hatter.

Manual running back Michael Nero (12, #27) will miss the remainder of the 2014 football season, as doctors diagnosed him with a slightly-torn ACL in his right knee. Nero sustained the injury after a Fern Creek player tackled him early in the second quarter in Manual’s 19-7 victory over Fern Creek on Aug. 29.

Nero is scheduled to go in for surgery on Monday, though he originally contemplated trying to play through the injury.

“Mike wanted to come out and play with all of his heart and soul. He felt like the pain wasn’t bad enough to where he couldn’t play because he felt like he still had the same movement,” said Manual Head Coach Oliver Lucas (Science). “When you look at the long run–his career, his future at Division One–then he needs to go ahead and have the surgery, so that he can be ready to fully go.”

After the operation, Nero will undergo physical therapy to rehabilitate the knee.

“I’ll be back in four months at one hundred percent,” said Nero, “so I feel good about it.”

Nero does not believe that the injury will prevent a future career in football.

“[The injury] won’t affect my future as a football player because my meniscus is fine, my cartilage is fine. The only thing that is wrong is that I have a slight tear so that’s what really saved me,” he said. “So that’s why four months is my recovery time and I know that I’m going to work hard in rehab. I’m confident that it’s not going to hurt anything that I’ve got going on.”

According to the Courier-Journal, Nero has received scholarship offers from Toledo and Morehead State.

In the 2013 season, Nero rushed for 1,832 yards and 20 touchdowns and had already rushed for 288 yards and four touchdowns in the first five quarters of the 2014 season.

In Nero’s absence, Manual will turn to Trae Gordon (12, #22), Reece West (11, #26) and Andre Teague (10, #32).

“We’ve got other running backs in the stable,” Lucas said. “Between the three of them we feel pretty good about being able to maintain the defense and offense, and to have the same type of rushing productivity.”

West is prepared to take on the task of filling Nero’s shoes.

“I expect to take on the challenge by working hard; we need to just step up,” West said. “Mike has been talking to me, telling me I what I need to do, but I’m fine with it (the replacement) being so sudden. It is what it is.”

Despite the injury, Nero still plans on attending Manual’s games.

“I’m going to be there. I’m going to be the biggest cheerleader,” Nero said. “We aren’t going to be missing a beat; Its going to be the same team, just without me; but, like I told them week in and week out, if I get hurt and I go down someone else has to step up. We got Trae, Reece and Teague stepping up.”