After rolling his right knee against Maryland on September 18th, Jenkins wasted no time beginning his rehabilitation and had a scope done of his knee the following Monday. The Parkersburg, W.Va., native was back walking by the following Friday, less than one week after the injury occurred.
“You’re always scared that you’re going to get hurt but you just can’t think about it,” said Jenkins. “It’s just part of the game. You can play hurt but you can’t play injured.”
Jenkins’ experience of dealing with an injury as a freshman helped him to prepare for handling this year's setback. He credits the treatment room and strength coach Mike Joseph for helping him have a rather speedy recovery.
“You’ve got to attack the treatment room,” Jenkins said. “The trainers have been doing a good job of getting it better and Mike Joseph has been doing a good job getting the strength back. It’s just a part of maturity. It happens, you’ve got to accept it and then fight through it.”
Despite missing two games, including the Mountaineers' big match up against LSU, Jenkins has been pleased with his recovery time as he prepares to take the field on Thursday night’s game against South Florida.
“I’ve been in the treatment room two or three times a day just trying to get better,” said Jenkins. “That’s what some of the younger people don’t understand. When you get hurt; you have to go to the treatment room to get better. I think that helped to speed up my recovery.”
Like many players that are sidelined due to injury, Jenkins has been watching his teammates and fellow linemen for the past two games more as a coach than as a fellow player and has tried to give some tips or pointers to his teammates. Teammate Nick Kindler who is out for the season as he recovers from shoulder surgery, helps chart plays and can be seen shadowing offensive line coach Dave Johnson on the sidelines, and Jenkins has added his input, especially during the UNLV Game when he was not burdened with crutches.
“I try to be a leader since I’m not in there,” said Jenkins. “I try to do what I can. I think the line has been doing real well the last couple of weeks. I think they played with a lot of heart down at LSU and I think they played real well this past week.”
Jenkins admitted that having such a well balanced offense has made the line’s job easier this season than it has been in the past when trying to block for the Mountaineers' run-dominated offense.
“The balance definitely helps because you don’t know what’s going to come, a run or a pass, but we have a lot of weapons out there that we can throw to so that helps,” Jenkins said. “If we pass more, that sets up the run with Noel, so that’s good.”
While it has been almost a month since Jenkins was on the field for the Mountaineers, the junior believes he is ready to go at full speed for Thursday’s game which he is planning to start in.
“I felt good in practice last week,” he said. “Of course, I was a little rusty because I haven’t played in awhile, but I felt pretty good.”