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Risner talks through injury, NFL draft decision

The Manhattan Mercury, Kan. — Ryan Black The Manhattan Mercury, Kan.

April 15--Apr. 15--Dalton Risner's future was a popular topic of conversation late last season.

Risner, a three-year starter on Kansas State's offensive line, could have bolted for the NFL draft. And in all likelihood, he would have heard his name called at some point of the three-day event. Even his position coach, Charlie Dickey, worried he might lose one of the anchors of his unit. But Risner had other thoughts on his mind.

Namely, a left shoulder injury that bothered him all of last season, and parts of the Wildcats' 2016 campaign, too.

"Throughout the season, it was harder and harder for me," Risner said. "I was wearing out my right shoulder, trying to overcompensate for my left shoulder. I couldn't use my left in some situations."

He gave the NFL serious thought, telling Dickey the only reason he considered it was because of worries about the health of his shoulder long term. If he's going to go through rehabbing the shoulder, the thinking goes, why not do it on a pro team's dime?

Risner ultimately decided to put the NFL on hold.

Instead, he would get a head start on his rehab.

"I was concerned about my right shoulder as well," Risner said. "They told me that we would have to get an arthrogram to see. So at the time, I was thinking I was going to have to get surgery on my left and wait six weeks before getting surgery on my right. That would have put me back like week one of (preseason) camp."

One shoulder surgery is tough enough. But two?

"I don't even know if that's possible to overcome," Risner said. "A lot was going (on) at that time."

To ensure he would be ready to play this fall, however, meant Risner had to sacrifice playing in last season's finale: the Cactus Bowl.

"I didn't know if I could be at my best for the bowl game," Risner said. "Me and Coach Dickey talked about it and said it would be good for Nick Kaltmayer to get in there and play in the bowl game. So I made that decisions to get surgery and get ahead of the program."

For now, that means Risner has taken in spring practice from the sideline. Despite not being able to participate, he's made his presence felt.

"Dalton is a good young guy, helping younger players," K-State head coach Bill Snyder said. "He's kind of a 'coach in uniform,' so to speak, and does a nice job of that. Very conscientious about it."

By the time summer workouts begin, Risner expects to be back to full health.

He can't wait.

"I'm going to be back in the summer and do all workouts with the team," he said. "I can be a leader and work out with them, not just be a coach."

Adams says he is 'ahead of schedule'

Risner isn't the only senior out this spring.

Free safety Kendall Adams continues to recover from a foot injury that ended his 2017 season early. Missing spring practice hasn't dampened his enthusiasm, though.

"To answer y'alls question... My recovery is going great!" Adams tweeted Tuesday. "I'm wayyyyy ahead of schedule."

Snyder concurred, saying he expects Adams back by August.

"If not sooner," Snyder said.

There's just one thing the Wildcats have to keep an eye on.

"We just have to keep his weight under control," Snyder said. "(He) loves to eat."

Adams is listed at 228 pounds on the team's official roster

Risner hopes for team captain title again

For the third time in as many seasons, Risner was selected as a player representative by his peers. The results of the player-driven vote were announced by Snyder on Monday.

"This new class of player reps -- selected by their teammates to serve as team leaders within their position groups and the entire team -- contains young men who have proven to possess a quality and caring value system and a strong desire to help their teammates achieve success," Snyder said in a release. "We're counting on each of them to exhibit a true and total commitment to the principles of their program and be strong enough to hold themselves and their teammates responsible and accountable to those principles. I have a great appreciation for their desire to do so."

That Risner elicited that respect from his peers meant the world to him.

"It's awesome, and I really don't underestimate it," he said. "I think a lot of people think I do."

But Risner aspires to be more than just a player representative; he wants to be a team captain, an honor he's earned each of the past two seasons. The last Wildcat to serve as a team captain for three consecutive years was fellow offensive lineman B.J. Finney, who accomplished the feat from 2012 to 2014.

That tidbit wasn't lost on Risner.

"I want to be remembered as one of those guys who was a captain for three years," he said. "I bring a lot more than just going out there and saying, 'Hey, come on guys.' I take a lot more with it being a captain. I know a lot of people know that, but I carry a lot of weight with honors like that. It means a lot to me."

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