State Colleges

UCF coach Josh Heupel gives an update on McKenzie Milton’s devastating knee injury

Saban dismisses claim that UCF shares national title with Alabama

Alabama coach Nick Saban insists that his team is the true NCAA football champion, and not UCF, who went undefeated last season. Saban added that the College Football Playoff system is "not broken."
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Alabama coach Nick Saban insists that his team is the true NCAA football champion, and not UCF, who went undefeated last season. Saban added that the College Football Playoff system is "not broken."

UCF’s second consecutive undefeated regular season was achieved Friday in the War on I-4 against USF.

But it was a bittersweet victory with quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful McKenzie Milton sustaining a devastating right knee injury early in the second quarter.

Milton was transported to Tampa General Hospital, where he underwent surgery, according to multiple reports.

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On Monday, UCF head coach Josh Heupel discussed Milton during an appearance on the Open Mike radio show at Orlando-based station, 96.9-FM.

“In typical McKenzie fashion, he’s a fighter and he’s a competitor,” Heupel said. “There’s obviously a traumatic knee injury, and there’s a lot of hurdles to cross, to jump over in the coming months. ... In the first 48 hours, he’s done really well.”

Heupel did not specify if Milton would be back next season, rather leaving it up to the family.

“It’s a personal and family issue as far as what they want released and when they want that released,” Heupel said.

However, Milton’s teammate, Jordan Johnson, told ESPN on Monday that Milton took his first steps since the surgery.

“I called him to see how he was doing, and he was letting us know that he’s there for us,” Johnson told ESPN. “He wants to see us succeed, so we’re out there playing for McKenzie. We want to go out there and win for him. It was all good vibes. I told him it was good to see him smiling. He said that he got to walk the other day, and he never appreciated walking as much.”

ESPN reported, “it’s unclear whether Milton was able to take a few steps on his own or whether he needed assistance to walk.”

Backup quarterback Darriel Mack Jr. replaced Milton in the USF game as the Knights won easily. He’s projected to start this week’s American Athletic Conference championship game against Memphis in Orlando. The Knights defeated the Tigers 31-30 on the road earlier this season. That was the closest a team has come to ending UCF’s unbeaten streak, which currently stands at 24, this season.

“The Milton family would like to express gratitude for all your thoughts, prayers and concerns,” a Milton family statement read, according to multiple reports. “McKenzie’s surgery was successful and he is recovering well. We would like to thank the medical staffs at Tampa General Hospital, University of South Florida and the sports medicine staff at UCF for their superb care. McKenzie looks forward to rejoining his teammates in Orlando and supporting them in their quest to bring another conference championship to our program.”

“Remember what Ohana means. No one gets left behind. #UCFamily.”

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