GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - Rashad Kinlaw's future football plans remain mostly the same despite breaking his right fibula for the second time in less than a year.
The Galloway Township resident still intends to help the Absegami High School team during his senior season and then play for the University of Notre Dame on a scholarship next year.
"The doctor already told me physical therapy is going to be hell, but I'm ready for it," Kinlaw said at the Braves' weightlifting session Wednesday afternoon. "I'll push through it."
Kinlaw had surgery last week after breaking his leg June 30 while playing for the United States at the U-19 World Championships in Austin, Texas.
In a game against American Samoa, a defender rolled up on the same leg that Kinlaw broke last October. Kinlaw did not have surgery the first time.
Coach Dennis Scuderi Jr. said Kinlaw is out indefinitely. But the hope is that the 6-foot-2, 184-pounder can return at some point this season. Absegami opens Sept. 7 at St. Joseph.
A screw that was inserted in the leg during surgery will be removed in mid-August, Scuderi said. By late August, Kinlaw will be able to rehabilitate the leg.
"It could be as long as the season, but it could be as short as a couple games," Scuderi said. "There's such a broad range in there when he could be back, if at all, and I don't want to put any pressure on him to feel like he has to come back."
As for Notre Dame next season - Kinlaw verbally committed in March - Scuderi and Kinlaw each had the same two words: "Everything's good."
Kinlaw still plans to sign with the Fighting Irish in February on national signing day. He plans to play defensive back there.
As for this season, the Braves still have high aspirations. They already had planned to work junior backup quarterback Mike Dolan into the offense after he went 3-2 last year with Kinlaw out. Dolan's only two losses came against South Jersey powers Hammonton and Cherokee, and he beat Oakcrest, St. Augustine Prep and Mainland Regional. Absegami finished 5-5.
"We feel like we have enough back on both sides of the ball where we're just going to (put the) next man in, plug away and just keep going," Scuderi said. "If and when we get Rashad back, that will be a bonus."
Kinlaw texted Dolan when he first got hurt, but Dolan didn't find out the extent of the injury until two days later when Scuderi pulled him out of a tape session and into his office.
"It kind of doesn't feel good because he's hurt and he's one of my really good friends," Dolan said. "But I know what I have to do to get it done. It happened last year.
"I played OK last year, so I think they've got a little more trust in me."
Kinlaw said he was "just mad" when the injury happened. In the United States' first game of the eight-team tournament, he was playing wide receiver and caught a slant pass before getting tackled as he reached the sideline.
"As soon as I tried to stand up, I felt like I couldn't put any pressure on it at all," Kinlaw said.
Scuderi was watching the game live online. The clip of the play was posted on YouTube shortly after it happened.
"The first thing you think about is you're hurting for the kid," Scuderi said.
Dolan was worried about his friend's future with Notre Dame. He said he urged Kinlaw to be smart about his rehab.
"His future is really at the next level," Dolan said.
But Kinlaw is optimistic now, saying his immediate plans are to "lift upper body and just wait. Just wait it out."
Scuderi doesn't expect him to wait for long, though. While he stressed that the Braves will consider any contribution from Kinlaw this season a bonus, the coach said his star will work hard to get back.
"One of the best parts about this kid is he's a competitor," Scuderi said. "He doesn't want to sit on the sideline. That's not good enough for him."
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