MORGANTOWN - When Da'Sean Butler went crashing to the Lucas Oil Stadium court in a heap Saturday night, chances are he saw his basketball career flash before his eyes.
All that work - the sweat and toil and commitment it took to get to that point - and less than nine minutes from the end of his college career (and thus the beginning of what he still hopes will be a professional career) it was all placed in jeopardy by a blown left knee.
Some 370 miles away in Morgantown, Noel Devine and Jock Sanders watched and cringed.
"It hurt me,'' Devine said. "I could almost feel it.''
Devine and Sanders, though, had a far different perspective than most about watching Butler crash to the floor with a torn ACL, a sprained MCL and bone bruises in one of the knees he hopes will lead him to professional riches.
Remember, it was only a few months ago that both Devine and Sanders entertained the notion of leaving West Virginia a year before their football eligibility expires in order to try to cash in on what the NFL might have to offer. Certainly one consideration for each was the possibility of a game-changing injury should they play another season of college football.
They elected to stick around, in large part they said in order to finish what they started at West Virginia. Certainly the opportunity to enhance their draft status played a part, as well.
As for the chances they are taking by putting their bodies out there and on the line for another year? Well, both insist it's simply a matter of fate and divine intervention.
"Sure, thoughts ran through my head,'' Devine said this week as he began his final spring practice at West Virginia. "But God's got a plan for everybody. I hated to see what happened to Da'Sean, but he'll be all right.''
Indeed, Butler's injury isn't the end of the road for him. Plenty of players have come back from reconstructive knee surgery in both basketball and football and have been no worse for the wear.