Tough Time For Weis Gets Tougher
Regardless of what you think of Charlie Weis the person or the job he has done as Notre Dame's coach for the past four seasons, the latest news regarding his health merits sympathy.
It was announced Friday night that Weis must have surgery on his right knee before he can repair his more seriously damaged left knee. Evidently, the Notre Dame coach has a torn lateral meniscus as well as an additional injury that will require doctors to shave the bone.
It's not known whether Weis also injured his right knee in the sideline collision with John Ryan during a win over Michigan on Sept. 13 or whether the damage was the result of wear and tear associated with favoring his left knee in the weeks and months since.
What it means, however, is that Weis must undergo surgery on his right knee soon enough to allow for four-to-six weeks of recovery before he undergoes a second surgery to repair his shredded left knee on Feb. 24. Then comes more weeks of recovery. In all, expect it to take six months until Weis is able to move around like he did before the Michigan game.
It has been an incredibly challenging couple of years for Weis. First came last year's 3-9 disaster followed by a busy offseason spent making decisions that he hoped would shore up the program. Then he blows out his knee, his team tanks and now it appears that it may not be until training camp rolls around again before he can walk normally.
Throw in all the criticism from media and elsewhere coupled with speculation about him being fired, and this as undoubtedly been the most difficult year of his professional life.
There are undoubtedly some deeply personal issues bubbling under the surface as well.
Weis has always battled a weight problem. The gastric bypass surgery that almost killed him in 2002 was his desperate attempt to get his weight under control. The guys on the radio making fat jokes about Charlie may not realize that this is a potential life and death issue for him and his family.
His father died after a second heart attack at 56. As a result of the disastrous gastric bypass surgery, Charlie suffered nerve damage in his feet, resulting in the feeling in his left foot being 80 percent of normal and his right foot being 50 percent. As a result, the 52-year-old has had trouble walking, jogging and playing sports even before the knee injuries.
Now, given the surgeries and long recovery time, it will be even more difficult for him to keep his weight down. He looked older and more haggard with each passing day late in the season. I wasn't at the football banquet but someone who was told me he looked as bad as they had ever seen him. This is a trying time for Weis. He faces his biggest professional challenge at a time when he can't can barely stand and/or walk. It's only going to get worse in the wake of two upcoming surgeries.
It doesn't matter what you think of him as a coach to feel for him as a person.
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