By Robbie Neiswanger
By Robbie Neiswanger
Arkansas News Bureau
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas running back Knile Davis has returned to the practice field roughly three months after suffering what was deemed a season-ending ankle injury.
Does it mean Davis will be back on the field sometime this season? That detail remained uncertain Tuesday night.
“I don’t get to make those decisions, so I try to stay out of stuff I don’t have anything to do with,” Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee said.
But the revelation Davis is practicing will spark interest, however, as BCS No. 6 Arkansas (9-1, 5-1 in Southeastern Conference) prepares for Saturday’s game against Mississippi State (5-5, 1-5) in Little Rock.
The junior, who was the SEC’s leading returning rusher after gaining 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, has slowly worked his way back from the broken ankle he suffered during a scrimmage on Aug. 11.
At the time of the injury, Arkansas said Davis would be out for the season. It’s a prognosis Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino has repeated several times throughout the season.
But Arkansas coaches and players also said it’s good to see Davis back on the practice field late in the year whether he’s able to play or not this season.
“Any time a guy has been through that kind of stuff, as an athlete you see that kind of stuff and it’s tough,” Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson said. “It’s the nature of the game we play in. To see him go through all the week and the labor to get back to playing at the speed they once did, it’s awesome. It’s good to see him.”
Said guard Grant Cook: “Seeing Knile out there, he brings a lot of energy to everybody.”
Petrino is not available for interviews on Tuesdays. A request to speak to Davis was made Tuesday morning, but the back was not made available to the media after practice.
But running backs coach Tim Horton did provide some insight into how Davis has looked on the field the past couple of weeks. He said the back did individual drills and some team work Tuesday and has shown some obvious rust.
“He may come out one day and practice and then the next he may not be able to practice because he’s so sore,” Horton said. “Last week he went the whole week. He started out good (Tuesday). So this is the start of the second week.”
Davis provided a quick peek at his thoughts Monday, when he used his Twitter account to say “Just wanna thank god for seconds chances..finally moving like i use to”
McGee said he hears Davis “needs to stay off Twitter,” but added the running back is doing well.
“Knile is the man,” McGee said. “He battles back. He’s tough. He doesn’t get down. He’s on the sideline. He’s in our meetings. He’s helped us a lot this year without carrying the football. … It’s something we talked about when the injury happened. His role as a captain was going to change. It wasn’t going to be he was gong to carry the ball 30 times for us and lead by example on the field. He was going to have to find a different way to lead and be a captain and I think he’s done a fantastic job for us.”
Arkansas has won six straight games and has a chance to notch its second consecutive 10-win season even though Davis has watched from the sidelines. The Arkansas run game started slow without Davis, but the Razorbacks have shown improvement during the second half of the season thanks largely to Dennis Johnson’s four-game stretch (395 yards).
It’s not clear how much Davis would be able to help after sitting out the entire season even if he was cleared to return to action this month. Horton admitted “I don’t know that you can” expect much from Davis this season and added “he hasn’t gotten hit since the hit” in August.
But Horton — who also has watched Broderick Green return earlier than expected from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee — wouldn’t rule anything out.
“He’s like any kid,” Horton said. “He wants to play. So we’ll see what happens.”