Receiver Kenny Walker has been sidelined all season after a June back surgery to repair a slipped disc. Though the pain became acute following last spring game, it may stem back to the pounding he put on his body doing hurdles on the track team.
Itching to build off his freshman season, he said he feels about 90-95 percent healthy right now. Also holding him back is the fear that he’ll take a hit that re-injures his back, a mental hurdle he has yet to overcome.
“It’s been kind of hard because I’ve got to work in the rotation again, learning the plays all over again,” said Walker, who in 2012 caught 11 passes for 87 yards and returned seven kickoffs for 138. “I’m still having a few nicks. Stiffness. I’ve been having to stretch a lot. My hands have been messed up. But it’s been great.”
The 5-foot-9, 171-pounder thinks he’s a little faster than he was last year, but still gets tightness in his hips. He expects to feel 100 percent by spring camp, where his biggest impact could come on special teams.