Kevin Blank eyed his right knee the other day, massaged it and sighed.
It's a bit stiff on cold mornings, but it's otherwise in working order, the Granite Bay High School offensive lineman said.
Blank missed the first two games this season recovering from a torn ACL, thanks to a good wrestling move last winter that went bad. He wears two bulky knee braces for stability and lumbers about like Frankenstein, but good luck trying to shed this guy's block.
Blank, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound senior, is like a piranha in pads, his coaches say, tearing into defensive ends bent on bending his ballcarriers into pretzel shapes. Blank has been a leader for the surging Grizzlies, whose unsung line has played a key role in the team advancing to the CIF State Division I Championship Game on Friday against Long Beach Poly.
Those knees? It's a family thing, revealing a medical chart of lousy luck.
"My brother, Eric, played here and dislocated his knee once," Blank said. "My sister, Andrea, blew out her ACL skiing. My dad, Steve, has a knee that gives out.
"We've got some bad knees in the Blank family."
There's more: Even the Blank's family dog is limping with a bad knee. Benson, a 10-year-old Lhasa Apso, is due for surgery, and it pains everyone to see him stagger about. That'll teach the pooch to try to jump on the couch, joked Steve Blank.
"Mine is gone, too, snaps in and out every once in a while," said Steve Blank, who is part of the weekly Grizzlies food and drink detail with his wife, Janet. "The dog's knee surgery will cost $1,400 to fix, not the $14,000 for Kevin's knee, so that's good."
Eric Blank spent three seasons in the trenches for Granite Bay from 2003 to 2005 before playing for two seasons at Cal Poly. He will finish law school at Santa Clara in May. Kevin Blank said he admires his brother's brains but insists he is the better blocker.
After graduating from Granite Bay, Blank wants to study business in college, though he's uncertain where that will be. He also doesn't know if Friday's game will be his football farewell.
One thing Blank knows, though, is he wants something his father has. Steve Blank played for three 3-A state championship teams in Illinois.
He was a lineman, of course.
"Football is big in our family," Blank said. "It'd be great to end it on a high note. My knee's got plenty left."
Football coach Mike MacIntyre, who left San Jose State for Colorado on Monday after leading the Spartans to a 10-2 record, ran a prep combine of sorts at Sheldon High School last summer, giving him an up-close look at dozens of athletes from this region.
During that weekend, MacIntyre offered scholarships to Del Oro running back Brandon Monroe, Jesuit all-purpose threat Thomas Sperbeck and Del Campo lineman A.J. Samataua. Within days, MacIntyre also reached out to Folsom defensive back Phillip Carter.
All are still interested in San Jose State, but they're curious to see who the next coach will be and if those offers still stand.