MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Running back Dustin Garrison wasn't in uniform Saturday when No. 9 West Virginia defeated Marshall, but he remains in the plans for the offense. That means left guard Josh Jenkins remains a big part of Garrison's recovery.
The fifth-year senior from Parkersburg has been through three knee surgeries and three recoveries and has been one of Garrison's confidants as Garrison comes back from December's left ACL tear.
"Coming back from a knee injury is the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Jenkins said. "You go through a lot of adversity and there are times you don't believe it's going to happen. The best thing I try to tell him is to take your time. If it's hurting, don't be afraid to get treatment on it. Don't be afraid to take time on it.
"It's not going to be easy, but I try to be positive with him and let him know what I had to go through and the pains I had when I came back, so if he experiences the same stuff, he knows what to expect."
Jenkins played as a true freshman in 2008, but in the fifth game dislocated his left knee and missed the rest of the season. He returned in 2009 and started all 13 games, but hurt his right knee early in the 2010 season and needed arthroscopic surgery to clear out some cartilage. That cost him two games.
He was back on the field in the 2011 spring, but had a player accidentally take out his legs in the spring game which "tore my MCL and everything that holds my kneecap in place" in his left knee.
He missed all of the 2011 season while Garrison took over as the starting running back as a true freshman and led the team with 742 yards rushing.
Jenkins, the state's first player to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in 2007 and a Parade Magazine and USA Today high school All-American at Parkersburg High, has started 25 games and missed 23 in his career.
He and Garrison have different positions and their injuries are not the same, but a knee is a knee and the issues are similar.
"The biggest thing about coming back from a knee injury is knowing that once you step on the field, you're going to have pains here and there," Jenkins said. "You try not to think about it and try not to worry about it and just go. If you think about it, it slows you down.
"The best thing I did when I came back this spring was I didn't let it affect me. I just went out and played and I knew by the third time if I thought about it, I'd play slower and there'd be a chance it could happen again."