So three days from starting his first game for the Nebraska Cornhuskers . . .
"I fell down after it happened," Anderson said, remembering the Wednesday practice, two weeks back. "I tried to make a tackle. I just came down on it wrong. I heard something snap."
The sound, he said, was more like a pop. But he didn't think torn anterior cruciate ligament. His first inclination wasn't to go to the worse case. He best-cased it and tried to put it out of his mind.
"I just felt like it was hurting, but it was pain I felt like I could have pulled through," Anderson said. "I played in the game with it, too. I still thought I was fine."
He knew it wasn't perfect. His usual burst, the one that got him from Harrison Street to Lincoln, Neb., wasn't quite there. But who wouldn't give it a go? Anderson probably was playing in front of more people than had seen him in high school and junior college, all games combined.
"It's probably like this because I practiced all week," Anderson said he told himself. "I didn't give it time to heal."
When Nebraska's trainers saw the knee was swollen after the game, they ordered an MRI exam that revealed the tear. The good news for Anderson is that it happened in Nebraska's third game of the season. They plan to file for a medical redshirt. Anderson should still get his two seasons of eligibility.
He had surgery last week and admitted it was initially "devastating." But now he's back in best-case mode. He doesn't believe his knowledge of the playbook has caught up to his ability. All he can do at practice is stand and watch. He's not going to waste that time.
His real rehab work hasn't started yet.
"I'm walking," Anderson said. "I'm starting to jog a little bit."
He's got a chip on his shoulder, he said. Not from any specific incident. Football players from Philly, especially from the Public League, don't have lines of recruiters showing up at their door. His academic path to Division I made junior college the first stop.
That, Anderson said, was the most difficult hurdle of his career.
"The whole California thing, being away from my family, not being able to come home when I wanted to," Anderson said.
Check out his YouTube Juco highlights video. In just a minute and a half, it's easy to see why Nebraska recruited Anderson and wanted to get him on the field. He's got NFL quickness and an obvious ability to avoid hits while getting to the football. Linebacker suits him, he said.
"I can do more what I want," Anderson said. "Fly around, get to the ball."
And, Anderson said, he will always play with a little bit of an edge honed in his hometown. Playing a full game with a torn ACL? That's not a worst-case scenario in his mind.
"I think where I'm from, a lot of people don't make it to Division I, or in life, period," Anderson said. "I'm always hungry."
Contact Mike Jensen at email@example.com or @Jensenoffcampus on Twitter. Read his "Off Campus" columns at www.philly.com/offcampus.