Second time the charm?

Antonio Carter, sidelined all of last season with an excruciatingly slow-to-heal stress fracture in his leg, has gotten much better over the past several weeks.

Carter is recovering from a second operation to repair the same stress fracture in his leg.

After the first operation performed following the 2002 spring practice "didn't take," Carter was forced to sit out the following season as a redshirt. Then early last semester a second titanium rod--slightly larger than the first--was inserted in the bone, fixing the fracture and allowing it to heal.

Suffering moderate to severe pain for most of the past summer and fall, Antonio Carter reported to recently a significant decrease in the pain. The senior wide receiver also said that he is moving much better.

Beyond the value of getting back one of the most effective and respected leaders on the squad, Carter's return would go a long way toward easing the transition to Alabama's new offense. Under Head Coach Mike Price, the Tide will ideally utilize a minimum of six receivers in order to rotate the players and keep everyone fresh.

Hardly the biggest receiver on the squad, Carter's combination of power, quickness and good hands allow him to be effective versus taller defenders.

Carter's return would give Alabama four front-line, proven SEC-caliber receivers--all with experience at making the big play. Triandos Luke, Dre Fulgham and Zach Fletcher are also back for their final seasons.

Seniors Brandon Greer and Lance Taylor and junior Tarry Givens also have game experience.

Heading into his final season, Carter's career numbers total 106 receptions for 1,294 yards and five touchdowns. Carter's best game came against Ole Miss in 2000, when he caught eight passes for 157 yards.

His 106 receptions ties him for fourth on Bama's career reception list with Curtis Brown (‘91-'95). Carter is just 46 catches shy of Freddie Milons' record mark of 152.

Before his injury, Carter was also the Tide's principal punt return man.

Timing between receiver and quarterback will be absolutely key for the Tide next season. At this point Carter expects to be running full speed with his teammates by the start of summer term, which would allow him to take part in the critical voluntary pass skel drills over the summer.

BamaMag Top Stories