Oct. 22, 2011; South Bend, IN, USA; USC Trojans defensive end Devon Kennard (42) pressures Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Tommy Rees (11) in the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. USC won 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

USC Football Exclusive: Devon Kennard Speaks About Season-Threatening Injury


On Thursday afternoon, Devon Kennard suffered a major setback in his college career when he tore his right pectoral muscle while bench pressing. Kennard had started or played in every single game while at USC, but it looks like that streak is about to end.

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I sat down with him on Friday afternoon to talk about the injury, and where he will go from here.

“I was benching, on the fourth rep of my fourth set. I came down and when I went to bring the bar back up I felt it immediately. I went straight to the training room and we started the process right away,” Kennard said of the moment he sustained the injury.

He was repping 405 pounds, a heavy amount but one that he has done numerous times.

“It was a freak accident that can happen to anyone, especially at heavy weights. It’s not common for any position, but it has happened to a ton of players,” he says. “I knew it was pretty bad based on what I felt. So we got the MRI and got it looked at and I’m going to be having surgery a few days after it happened.”

Kennard is scheduled to undergo surgery Monday.

A pectoral tear can range from a minor injury that can sideline a player for a few weeks, to one that can yield a season-ending surgery.

For Kennard, it looks as if it could be the latter.

” I dont know how extensive it’s going to be, but I plan on rehabbing aggressively and if at all possible I am going to come back towards the end of the season.”

If he is to miss this season he could redshirt and then return for the 2013 season, or declare for the draft. Kennard has not begun to entertain either option, and is keeping focused on the present.

“If I can’t come back this season then I will do whatever is best for me and my family when the time comes to make a decision. But if I feel like I can come back and play at a high level, I’m going to.”

Kennard was to take over for Nick Perry as the starting left defensive end, but it is likely that the role will have to be filled by freshman Leonard Williams.

Unfortunately, this guy is no stranger to injury. During his senior year of high school, Kennard tore his ACL and was out for the season. Then after his freshman year at SC he had surgery on his thumb, and then surgery on his labrum at the end of last season.

“It’s not career-ending at all. I’ve had a really bad ACL tear and a bad hip injury, so compared to those this is going to be a much easier deal. ”

When news broke last night that he may have been injured, his teammates and fans tweeted their support. Seeing the expression of how much he matters to the Trojan Family fuels his desired to get back into action, he says.

“Just knowing the impact I’ve had on my teammates and just them knowing how much I want to be a part of this, it means a lot to me. It makes me want to come back even more, stronger and better.”

It reminds Kennard that he and this team have been through adversity before, and he can handle it.

“It speaks volumes about what we are about and what we stand for. These guys are my best friends, my brothers. I’m gonna be alright. It’s not gonna break me.”

Kennard sees this as just one more obstacle that he will have to hurdle on his path to success.

“God doesn’t put you through things you can’t handle. Yesterday was a rough day for me, but I’m ready to get back and get healthy.”

To the fans, he extends a huge “Fight On!” and wants them to know he will be back.

“I may be down, but I’m not out.”

Tags: Devon Kennard Interviews Leonard Williams