The Texas Longhorns received a positive sign on the injury front Tuesday with Joe Bergeron's return to the practice field.
Joe Bergeron was back at practice, but there's been no definitive word on Jordan Hicks's status.
The 6-foot-1, 236-pound running back has been medically cleared after his shoulder injury in the Longhorns' 66-31 win over Ole Miss on Sept. 15. Bergeron, Jordan Hicks (hip) and Anthony Fera (groin) were all limited in practice during last week's bye week, but Bergeron practiced Tuesday with no restrictions.
“It was really nothing,” Bergeron said. “[The shoulder issue was] just some bruising, but we got that taken care of and we're ready for the next game.”
The recovery time from the injury was quicker than some might have expected, but that's probably a credit to Bergeron more than anything else. He was hampered by a hamstring injury he suffered against Texas Tech last season, a lingering issue that impacted him to the point where he only registered 12 carries over the Longhorns' final seven games.
Dealing with this injury for Bergeron was vastly different than how he dealt with the hamstring.
“I'm back from it a lot quicker,” Bergeron said. “It was just the mindset to get in the training room as quickly as possible so we could get ready for the next game.
“[Injuries are] going to happen and there's not much you can do to prevent something like that from happening,” Bergeron added. “The only thing you can really do is learn from previous ones and do the precautions to prevent anything major from happening.”
While Bergeron is back, the same can't be said yet for Hicks or Fera. The only thing that's known about Hicks at this time is that he was at practice on Tuesday.
“I knew he was out there because we have our own little handshake after we get done stretching,” said Bergeron.
Bergeron added that Hicks was dressed out for Tuesday's workout.
“You can't play football without pads,” Bergeron said.
Hicks suffered a hip injury on the same play against Ole Miss where he was flagged for a horse-collar tackle on Rebels' running back Randall Mackey on the Ole Miss sideline. Hicks returned late in the first half, but he was seen limping to the locker room after the final play of the second quarter and he did not return.
While it's still unclear exactly what he did and didn't do on Tuesday, Hicks just being at practice was a positive sign for the team.
“Once you see everybody get up, you get the vibe after we stretch that it's going to be a good day,” Bergeron said. “That really gets us going, and seeing him out there doing that with the team as well as everybody else was really cool.”
If Hicks can't go it'll either be Kendall Thompson or Tevin Jackson who get the start at weak-side linebacker. Dalton Santos is fully recovered from a calf injury suffered against Ole Miss and he'll be in the mix for reps as well, and playing time is expected to go to whichever of the backup linebackers looks the best in practice this week.
Fera has been hampered by a groin injury since fall camp. The Longhorns can only have 70 players on the travel squad per NCAA rules, and Fera's injury is a huge factor in that mix.
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