Air Force's Zach Payne Plays With An ACL Tear Against Army

Tuesday evening Air Force defensive end Zach Payne revealed to the media that he has a torn ACL, but that is not the big news; rather the news is that Payne suffered the injury on Sept. 24 and he returned to action 42 days after suffering the injury:

"Just fortunate," Payne said. "They [training staff] said I had a best-case scenario."

Payne said the other leg muscles compensate for the missing ligament. He also wears a brace.

"I feel 100 percent, it feels normal, like a normal knee," Payne said.

He was worried he would miss the entire season, but the training staff told him he could come back, so that kept his spirits up.

"My goal all along was to get back for Army week," Payne said. "I was focused on that and was able to achieve my goal. Keeping my eye on the prize helped me get through every day of rehab."

Payne did see significant action against the Army Black Knighs and was a key player in stopping the Army offense in the second half. On the day Payne was credited with eight tackles. This is just amazing that Payne is able to play, and play well, with a torn ACL; Payne is expected to play the rest of the season with the injury.

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