Before suffering a dislocated knee towards the end of the 2018 season, UCF's McKenzie Milton was one of the most fun, prolific quarterbacks in the sport. During that year's rivalry game against USF, he went down with one of the nastiest injuries in recent memory.
Milton dislocated his knee in the second quarter of that game against the Bulls. He suffered significant nerve and arterial damage, and needed emergency surgery to restore blood flow to the area. For well over a year, he's been rehabbing with hopes of playing football again. He spoke to a group of reporters via Zoom on Thursday.
"Right now I would say 50-50," Milton said about his chances of playing this fall, per the Orlando Sentinel. He's trying to stay realistic but hopefully, ahead of a check-in with his surgeon in June, which will be a big step. "It’s still up in the air, but I’ve been making big progress. But it’s a long way to go and I’m not sure what my surgeon is going to say when we go up there in June.
"I hope that he clears me, but if he doesn’t, it is what it is," Milton continued. "It’s been a long hard process and I’ve learned patience through all of this and if I have to wait longer, so be it. If not, whatever he does clear me to do I’ll take that and run with it.”
McKenzie Milton was one of the most dynamic players in the country before the injury. Under Scott Frost in 2017, he led UCF to an undefeated season, throwing for 4,037 yards, 37 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.
His numbers took a slight dip in the following year under Josh Heupel in 2018 before the injury, but he was still a very productive quarterback. UCF hasn't lost a game with Milton under center since 2016.
If he does return, he'll have an interesting battle on his hands. Freshman Dillon Gabriel threw for 3,653 yards, 29 touchdowns, and seven interceptions last fall.
“He’s like a little brother to me," Milton said of Gabriel. Both quarterbacks played at Mililani High School in Hawaii before heading all the way to Orlando for their college careers. It is no surprise that they're close.
“I think it will be a little more competitive once I’ve been fully cleared,” Milton added. "Whoever is at the helm, we’re all going to support each other like I did last year.
Hopefully we get a chance to see Milton compete for that job this fall.