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Williams carted off field during practice

There was a scary moment during Arkansas' final spring practice Saturday.

Rawleigh Williams was carted off the field during Arkansas' final spring practice Saturday.

The junior running back suffered what is being called a stinger and was taken to the hospital to be evaluated because of his injury history. He broke his neck against Auburn midway through his freshman season in 2015.

Before leaving the Walker Pavilion, Williams was seen moving his legs and fingers and early indications are that he is okay.

"Everything has been very positive so far, everything I've been informed of," head coach Bret Bielema said. "Just a blessing to hopefully keep him moving in the right direction and, as far as the future or anything like that, I really don't have any idea of what that may entail.

"But his health and safety is always going to be priority No. 1. So we'll go through that and try to keep you updated as much as we possibly can."

The injury occurred in the first 30 minutes of the practice, which was scheduled to be Arkansas' annual Red-White spring game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium before heavy rain and storms forced the UA to cancel the event and have a normal practice indoors.

Williams took a handoff and ran around the left end during what is called "inside drill," where the running backs, fullbacks, tight ends and the offensive line work on run plays against the defensive line, linebackers and safeties.

He cut inside and was met by defensive end McTelvin Agim. However, when he started to spin out of Agim's arms, he fell to the ground. Here is video of the play:


It was not a gruesome hit, but Williams' reaction on the ground prompted a quick response from the medical staff. His jersey and pads were removed before he was placed on a stretcher and carted out of the facility.

In addition to the medical staff, Williams was joined by his family and Bielema.

"He kept saying, 'This is embarrassing,' because he wanted to walk and they wouldn't let him walk, because they were just being overly cautious," Bielema said. "When I'm driving into work having a cup of coffee, I always say, 'What the heck's going to happen today that I have no idea is going to happen? Well, that one right there. That was it."

The quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs were practicing on the other end of the field, but word quickly made its way to them.

Bielema eventually had offensive coordinator Dan Enos huddle the team up at midfield and say a prayer before resuming practice.

"It just kind of took the wind out of you," quarterback Austin Allen said. "It's just something you don't ever want to happen to anyone, but especially Rawleigh because it's his second time. It was just one of those things where it's always in the back of your mind during practice."

Allen's sentiments were echoed by center Frank Ragnow, who was held out of scrimmage-type drills as he has been all spring.

"You don't want that to happen to anybody, but Rawleigh Williams defines uncommon," Ragnow said. "He's such a good kid. He does everything the right way."

Unlike wide receiver Jared Cornelius, tight end Grayson Gunter, linebacker Dre Greenlaw and all of the quarterbacks, Williams was not wearing an anthracite "no-contact" uniform.

It is actually Williams' first spring to go through full contact. He missed the second half of the 2015 season after his broken neck injury and then was limited in spring and fall practice last year.

He returned to action last season and won the SEC's regular-season rushing title, finishing the year with 1,360 yards and 12 touchdowns and earning All-SEC honors.

Despite being one of the Razorbacks' top returning players, he has participated in all of the practices and scrimmages this spring, unlike Ragnow.

"We didn't scrimmage him as much as we did everybody else, but today was obviously not even a full scrimmage situation," Bielema said. "I think Rawleigh would be the first to tell you there were things he needed to improve on and you only get them through repping full practice."

Bielema said he would have a conversation with Williams and his family after the medical situation is sorted out and they have all of the necessary information. Until then, he did not want to speculate about his future.

"I love Rawleigh Williams walking and talking and doing everything else," Bielema said. "We'll evaluate what the medical people tell us and then we'll have a conversation together and only do what's right for Rawleigh."

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