WR Skelton Storms Back From Knee Injury

* Senior split end is finally ready to play ball

Colby Skelton's eyes blaze. The senior wide receiver rocks back and forth in his chair and pounds his slab-like hands on the table. Only Skelton's appearance-he wears a gray-and-red Harvard athletic sweatsuit-hints of relaxation.

Skelton, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while running a split end reverse in the first half of the Yale game on Nov. 23, thirsts to return to the lineup and haul down sophomore quarterback Rich Linden's passes this season.

"I wanted to start playing again in the second half [against Yale]," Skelton said with a laugh. More seriously, he said, "I knew I'd be playing again."

To ensure his presence on the field, Skelton spent last winter and this past spring with trainers, and has practiced throughout the summer.

"Colby has made a miraculous recovery, due to a fanatical work effort," Harvard Coach Tim Murphy said. "He's not 100 percent, but after his catastrophic knee injury and reconstruction, I don't know if anyone can be 100 percent. He's done as much as any kid can do."

Skelton's mother, Margaret Moillesaux, accompanied him when he underwent surgery at Mass. General on Dec. 11.

"My mom wouldn't have it any other way," Skelton said. "I have a close family and it's been a tremendous help."

Besides his relatives, Skelton also listed wide receivers coach Jay Mills as a huge help and friend during his rehabilitation.

For two weeks following the injury, Skelton wore a knee brace that kept his knee straight. He stopped using crutches, which were intended for a week, after only five days.

"I could walk with that big brace on," Skelton said.

Immobility rankled Skelton the most during his recovery.

"The process wasn't fast enough," Skelton said. "I like to be active. Doctors were telling me to take it easy, but I never felt so immobile in my life.

"I got frustrated, and for the two and a half weeks I was at home [following his injury], I was one pain in the butt to be around."

When the summer began, Skelton's recovery ended, and he returned to lifting and running hard. During the summer, Skelton lived on DeWolfe Street while working for the Hillman Jordan Management Company on State Street. Skelton devoted each night to working out.

The injury taught Skelton a crucial lesson: Patience.