In-season surgery 'never really a thought' for KU tackle Hakeem Adeniji

Sophomore LT played with labrum tears

Kansas offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji runs through warmups on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017 at the grass fields adjacent to Hoglund Ballpark.

Even before this past Kansas football season began, left tackle Hakeem Adeniji suffered an injury — a torn labrum in one of the sophomore offensive lineman’s shoulders — that would make his already strenuous job even more difficult.

The 6-foot-4, 290-pound blocker from Garland, Texas, didn’t consider the setback in preseason camp a reason to take time off. Nor did Adeniji decide he’d had enough the first week of October, when the exact same trauma popped up in his opposite shoulder.

“The season’s three months. You put in all this work to play, and so it was never really a thought. I’m not going to sit out if I can go,” Adeniji explained Saturday, after starting all 12 games for the second season in a row.

Instead, Adeniji, with the help of Murphy Grant, the program’s director of sports medicine, battled through the pain. Every week, KU’s training staff aided the tackle with treatments and rehab.

“Murph did a good job of keeping me intact to be able to perform as good as I can with what I had,” Adeniji said.

Third-year Kansas coach David Beaty, of course, deeply appreciated Adeniji’s dedication.

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Kansas tight end Ben Johnson (84) is hoisted up by Kansas offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji ...

“That kid’s a true sophomore and he’s played the entire season with his arms strapped down. Stud, man,” Beaty said following KU’s season-ending loss at Oklahoma State. “We’ve got to get him healthy, because he’s one of our better players.”

Adeniji’s first of two offseason shoulder surgeries is scheduled for this week, with the second to come at an appropriate time down the road. The O-lineman had no regrets about putting off the procedures.

“There’s pain here and there, but it’s just something mentally that you have to be able to overcome,” Adeniji said. “Pain is pain. You go out and play through that.”

The starting left tackle wasn’t the only Jayhawk to endure not only a 1-11 season but also significant bumps, bruises or worse. Junior receiver Steven Sims Jr., for instance, played through undisclosed aches, as did redshirt sophomore quarterback Carter Stanley, before a late-season knee injury robbed the QB of his final start.

“We have a lot of resilient guys. That’s what gives you help going forward,” Adeniji said. “We’re going to keep going out there, keep pushing. I love the group of guys we have coming back. We’re not losing too many seniors. Looks better for us going forward.”

Although so much went wrong for the Jayhawks this season they almost seemed doomed to misfortune at the lowest points, Adeniji at least proved mentally and physically strong enough to play through the worst 2017 could throw at him.

“It’s hard to take, but we’re going to keep pushing, because there’s two ways you can go from here,” Adeniji said after KU’s season ended with an 11-game losing streak and failed to live up to internal expectations. “You can fold or you can keep working and just believe everything’s going to one day pan out for you, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

Comments

Curt Wright

I feel for this kid. Had this surgery in January, it takes forever for strength to come back, especially if they have to cut bicep tendon to repair the labrum which they do in many cases. Much longer recovery period than rotator cuff, which I had about 8 years ago.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Jack Hoff

Thank you Hakeem for putting your body through that for 11 weeks! Shows how much you care, love your university and love your team! We appreciate you and better days are coming. Most of us skip work because of a cold and you put your body through hell with two torn labrums! Thank you! Rock chalk!

2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Andy Godwin

For all of those who continue to denigrate the football program, remember and appreciate the effort of the student-athletes representing KU. They are the gladiators giving their time, effort, and bodies ("pain is pain") for our entertainment. Wishing you well on your surgeries.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

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