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December 8, 2006While USC prepares for their New Years Day showdown with the Michigan Wolverines, the Edison Chargers prepare for a CIF Southern Section Championship showdown with the Orange Lutheran Lancers.
However, one key ingredient of the Chargers' championship run will be missing.
Tuesday, senior offensive tackle Martin Coleman suffered a season ending ankle injury. The four-star standout, who committed to USC in April, broke his ankle in practice after stepping awkwardly on a teammates foot.
Like most bad injuries, Coleman remembers how it happened in detail.
"It was a running play, and I was pulling on a lead block," explained Coleman. "As I stepped with my right foot to cut off the defender, my left foot landed on my left guard's foot.
"That wasn't enough support to stand on, so my foot slipped and twisted to the outside on the grass, which was kind of wet from the sprinklers."
Hoping against hope, Coleman tried to convince himself that the injury was the same as many before it.
"I could hear it crack, so my first thought was that this could be the end of my high school career," said Coleman. "Then I kept telling myself that it was probably just sprained. I've sprained my ankles before, so I knew I could come back from that."
As Coleman was rushed to a hospital emergency room from practice, his worst fears were realized.
"They brought me in and took some x-rays," said Coleman. "The doctor came back and showed me where the crack was in my ankle. I was like, 'oh no'. He did say the ankle had a clean break, so it could've been worse. "
After seeing the fracture on x-ray, Coleman immediately contacted Edison head coach Dave White with the bad news.
"My brother-in-law, Clark, talked to him first, but then he wanted to talk to me," said Coleman. "The first words out of his mouth were, 'Martin, you're giving me a heart attack'."
Of course, the news of Coleman's injury spread fast when he was met in the ER by several Lancer fans.
"Yeah, that was funny," said Coleman. "I walked in, and there were a bunch of Samoan guys there in the emergency room. I guess they were there for their mom or something, but I walked in and they were like, 'hey Martin, how's it going'. It's pretty awesome to be recognized by people, although they have cousins who play for Orange Lutheran."
Although his senior season came to an abrupt end, Coleman is happy with what his Charger teammates were able to accomplish in 2006.
"It was an awesome season, and I got to hang out with my teammates every day in practice, while learning more about the game," said Coleman. "I'm very satisfied with the way things went."
And while the injury will sideline the 6-foot-6, 300-pound tackle from playing this Saturday at the Home Depot Center, it won't keep him from participating in spring ball at USC in March.
"I'm still 100-percent sure I'm graduating early," said Coleman. "I'm going to see the doctor two weeks from now, and they'll take more x-rays.
"From there, he's going to put me in a walking cast. I'm not sure when I'll be cleared to start running, but I figure that six more weeks from now I should be good as new."
And while some Charger fans question the teams chances of beating Orange Lutheran without their star left tackle, Coleman has no doubts that his absence will go unnoticed.
"I've been walking around school this week, and everyone keeps asking me, are you going to play this week'," said Coleman. "When I tell them I'm not playing, they say, 'well your team is going to lose now'.
"I know that's not going to happen. The second team players at Edison are awesome, and I have confidence in them. I think, no I know they're going to be great up front in this game."
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