ANNAPOLIS — If it's 6 a.m., it means Kriss Proctor is visiting the training room for treatment.
It also happens shortly after noon. And after practice. Anything at any time for the Navy quarterback to return from a dislocated left elbow.
Even if it means doing the same thing over and over. And over. And over.
"It's repetition," Proctor said. "It's being in there every day, doing the same thing. It's like 'Oh my, get me out of here.' But it works. The swelling's down. It's kind of funny, I always think about all the technology out there, and the best thing for it is ice and rest."
All of it is in pursuit of playing Saturday against Troy. Proctor, in his first year as a full-time starter, dislocated the elbow Oct. 1 against Air Force and popped it back into place. Three weeks later, he suffered the same injury and was forced out of the Midshipmen's trip to Notre Dame.
For a fortnight, Proctor divided his attention between supporting backup Trey Miller and investing time in his recovery. Well, recovery might not be the most accurate description. More like achieving game-ready status.
"This is kind of where I expected to be right now," Proctor said Wednesday. "I had a pretty good week of practice and felt stable all week, and I feel comfortable enough to say I'm going to play."
His constant presence in the trainer's area was hardly a small factor.
Jeff Fair, Navy's associate athletic director for sports medicine, repeatedly put Proctor through the aptly named dislocated elbow protocol over the past two weeks. After spending time in a whirlpool at 60 degrees, Proctor would put his arm in the air and Fair would take an elastic band and wrap it as tight as possible all the way up to the armpit.
"It just squeezes all the blood out of his arm," Fair said. "Leave that on a few minutes, then you unwrap it real fast. The blood rushes back in and the idea is to get the swelling out of there. Very effective."
Not to mention a little uncomfortable; Proctor said the process rips the hair off his arms. It also is time-consuming, which prompted Proctor to bring his smartphone with him so he could do some reading while being iced.
After all, life at the academy doesn't stop. Proctor had two tests this week and a 12-page paper due Friday. But playing one last time at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, where the Mids (2-6) will try to turn their season around, is significant as well.
"It kind of reflects who he is," senior fullback Alexander Teich said. "When he puts his mind to something, he's all in with it. Hopefully, he'll be back this week. I'd love to be playing next to him for our last home game. He's one of my best friends, and you feel comfortable with him out on the field. He's got that aura around him, that kind of leadership he brings to the field."
Coach Ken Niumatalolo said Wednesday he'll take the decision of whether to start Proctor or Miller up to game time if necessary. If Proctor can play, he will.
Niumatalolo was hopeful throughout the week his quarterback would return, not just for the team's sake but also for Proctor's. He made just three starts in his first three seasons, then played capably even as the Mids began their six-game slide.
Re-injury is a concern. So is the level of stress on Proctor's elbow ligaments because of the repeated dislocation. And as a southpaw, the ailment is particularly tough for a quarterback even in an option scheme.
"If he was right-handed, I'd just tape the living snot out of it and he'd be fine," Fair said. "But he's got to pitch, he's got to throw. Therein lies the problem."
Navy was careful not to overextend Proctor's throwing throughout the week. For his part, Proctor was careful not to push things. All that treatment and repetition, after all, was intended to produce one last Saturday afternoon on the field in Annapolis.
"There's importance to this game because it's the last home game," Proctor said. "It definitely means something to me, so there's definitely that sense of urgency."
As if Navy's athletic training staff couldn't tell already.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Weekly agitation from a columnist who many believed to be one of the least likely to become known as a Conservative Republican.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
This column will cover anything that has anything remotely to do with the game of baseball, from the game itself to mid-summer trades to offseason moves.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention