Lucas at Large: This time, 'eclectic' Konz seeks information on ankle

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UW center Peter Konz was more "curious'' than "anxious'' about his scheduled doctor's appointment Thursday with a foot and ankle specialist in Charlotte, N.C.

Konz has missed three games since dislocating his ankle Nov. 12 at Minnesota. While he was able to take some "positive steps'' during Tuesday's practice, he wants to know the skinny on his injury.

That's why he's getting a second opinion from Dr. Robert Anderson, who has been a consultant to a number of professional baseball, basketball and football teams, including the Green Bay Packers.

Anderson attended the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee -- hence his Cheesehead connection -- and has served as an assistant team physician for the NFL's Carolina Panthers.

He's also a founding member of the Foot & Ankle Institute at OrthoCarolina.

Put it this way -- Konz's way -- his ankle will be in good hands.

"He's a specialist so he's going to be able to tell me things from his experiences,'' Konz said. "He's going to tell me whether I can strengthen my ankle or if I'll need surgery.

"He's going to tell me if it's good to be practicing on my ankle -- that type of thing -- and if I do have to have surgery maybe it doesn't have to happen until after the season, so I'll be good to go.''

Konz added, "He'll help me make a decision.''

He then stressed, "I want to make sure I'm not doing anything to worsen my condition.''

In his heart, does Konz believe that he will be playing in the Rose Bowl?

"In my heart, yes,'' he said. "But I definitely have to be as healthy as I can.''

That relates to his potential effectiveness against an opponent like Oregon.

"If I'm not healthy,'' he said, "I'm not going to do anything (to help the offense).''

Konz took part in Wednesday's practice at the McClain Center, though his work to this point has been limited to individual drills on a weighted sled and conditioning.

Before leaving for Carolina, he has a final exam in "Wildlife Diseases'' which is an elective. "And a much more interesting class than I thought it would be,'' he said. "We have a lot of guest lecturers.''

The topics range from avian botulism to rabies.

Konz loves thinking outside of the box (not just the tackle box, either).

"That's what I do,'' he said. "I want to take the unbeaten path because there are a lot of great classes here that I don't think a lot of people explore just because they don't know much about them.''

Konz can understand the reservations that some of his teammates may have.

"Especially during the football season because you don't want to go out on the limb,'' he said. "What if this class is really hard? What if the professor won't work with my schedule?''

That's critical in terms of balancing a commitment to academics and athletics.

Each semester, Konz will check out available electives -- "I want to make sure it fits with my electives and everything I need to graduate'' -- and he will opt for what sounds interesting.

"If I'm interested in something,'' he said, "then I'm likely to do better in it.''

A couple of years ago, Konz recalled, "I said to myself, 'I want to read some classics.' So I took a class on Dante's Devine Comedy.''

How many All-American offensive centers can quote from Dante Alighieri's epic poem?

This might even leave Mel Kiper Jr. speechless.

"This year,'' Konz went on, "I said to myself, 'I want to be a little more religious.' I wanted to explore that side of myself so I took a class on early Christian religion.''

Konz has also taken a course on "Japanese art'' because "I really enjoyed my Roman art class -- I just love Italian culture being an Italian myself.''

When asked if he minded being labeled "eclectic'' he responded, "I do like that word actually.''

When reminded that jocks tend to be stereotyped, he laughed.

"I agree. It's easy to fit into a stereotype,'' he said.

At that moment, the post-Tuesday practice interview session was interrupted when the UW drums corps -- which had taken over the McClain facility -- began playing.

If ever there was anyone who marches to a different ...

Konz laughed again.
ON WISCONSIN