Davis out for 2011 season

Arkansas running back Knile Davis is expected to miss the 2011 season with an ankle injury suffered Thursday evening.

FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas running back Knile Davis is expected to miss the 2011 season with an ankle injury suffered Thursday evening.

Davis, a junior, sustained the injury on the first series of a scrimmage inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. He was tended to on the field for several minutes by team trainers before being carted off the field.

"I am extremely disappointed for Knile," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said in a release. "He is a captain who was incredibly focused on the upcoming year. His leadership throughout the offseason was significant in the development of this team.

"Our athletic trainers and medical staff are the best in the country, and Knile's mental toughness will be an asset to him during the recovery process. I am fully confident in the mindset of our running back group and their ability to perform."

Davis was the Southeastern Conference's leading rusher last season, rushing for 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns after taking over as a starter midway through the year.

He was especially impressive late in the year, rushing for 886 yards and 12 touchdowns in the final six games of the regular season. He was named to the preseason second team all-SEC by both coaches and media, and was on several preseason award watch lists.

Davis has struggled with ankle injuries in the past. His senior year of high school was cut short because of a broken ankle, an injury he suffered again going through spring workouts with the Razorbacks as a freshman in 2009.

Arkansas was already short a running back prior to Davis' injury. Senior Broderick Green tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the spring and will miss the 2011 season.

The Razorbacks will turn to a trio of running backs to try and carry the load. Redshirt junior Dennis Johnson will likely get the brunt of the work after returning from a season-ending injury suffered in the second game last season.

Johnson, the school's all-time leader in kick return yards, has rushed for 609 yards and two touchdowns in his career. His best outing came as a freshman against LSU when he ran for 127 yards and a score in an upset win.

Junior Ronnie Wingo has rushed for 572 yards on 90 carries in his two seasons at Arkansas and has been a threat in the passing game. Wingo has 32 catches for 373 yards and five touchdowns in his career.

Freshman Kody Walker, who was thought to maybe redshirt this season, will likely also get plenty of playing time, especially in short-yardage situations. Walker (6-foot-2, 235 pounds) impressed Razorbacks coaches during Thursday's scrimmage, toting the ball 15 times for 66 yards.

"I was really impressed with him," Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee said. "He's big, he's nimble and has really big hips, so it's hard to bring him down.

"He really understood what to do and didn't make many errors."

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