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Borland eyes a return despite another shoulder surgery

LOS ANGELES - Chris Borland was sporting a sling on his right arm at Thursday's Rose Bowl media day. That might be normal for a player who is redshirting because of a shoulder injury, but it's not normal when the injured shoulder is supposed to be his left one.

Borland said he had surgery to repair a small tear in his right labrum last week and called it a "tune-up".

"It's kind of proactive, I wouldn't have had it done if I wasn't already out," he said. "A lot of people play with a tear in their labrum, but this was a small one and I just had it done because I had the time."

The second surgery will most likely keep the linebacker out of spring practices for the second straight year, but he may participate in individual drills towards the end of the spring.

"I'm on track to be 100 percent by the end of spring ball, towards the beginning of summer," Borland said.

That's good news for the Badgers, but what's even better news is that the injury to his left shoulder wasn't nearly as severe as it could of been. After undergoing offseason shoulder surgery last year to repair a tear in the left labrum, Borland thought he re-tore it and admitted he worried about the future of his football career.

"There was a fear. I thought it was a re-tear, but it turned out it was a broken bone, which is a really easy heal," he said. "So when I found that out I was kind of happy. It was unfortunate that I was hurt, but the fact that it was a broken bone was good."

Borland started the season healthy and looked really good in the first game against UNLV, but the left shoulder got banged up in that win, forcing him to miss the following game against San Jose State. He played against Arizona State, but injured it again, forcing him to take a redshirt year.

So will Borland do anything different to protect his shoulders next season?

"I think I did everything right last time, you just can't really help breaking a bone," he said. "That's just how it goes sometimes in sports."