Monk Thankful For Rest, Rehabilitation

FAYETTEVILLE -- Two-sport athlete Marcus Monk's basketball season was cut short this winter because of the sprained shoulder he sustained in Arkansas' season-ending, 43-14 football loss at LSU last November.

But the Razorbacks' leading returning receiver doesn't plan on being slowed this spring after getting some much-needed rest and rehabilitation the past two months.

"It's doing a lot better," Monk said. "I've just been rehabbing since basketball season. I just didn't have any time to rest it after football season."

Monk joined Stan Heath's basketball team in early December and averaged 1 point and 1.8 rebounds in 10 games. He scored a season-best 5 points in his first outing against Tennessee State and grabbed 7 rebounds against Prairie A&M, but left the team on Jan. 31 after tweaking his shoulder in practice every day.

"I never let it heal 100 percent and I kept getting it banged," said Monk, who has noticed more strength and endurance in his shoulder the past few weeks. "It never did feel like it was getting better. (Leaving basketball) was the best move for me."

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said Monk is close to 100 percent after more than two months off. That's good news for the Razorbacks, who are counting on the sophomore to lead a group of receivers that includes Cedric Washington, Chris Baker, David Thompson, Anthony Brown and Cedric Logan next season.

His collegiate career got off to a blistering start when he set the school's freshman receiving record last fall, catching 37 passes for 569 yards and a team-leading 6 touchdowns in 2004. Nutt said Monk has picked up where he left off, turning in productive practices on Monday and Tuesday. He also participated in the first full-contact scrimmage Thursday and expects more work today.

"He's so much better now," Nutt said. "He's a very intelligent player. We feel like he's a guy we can go to, a guy we really trust that can go make big plays.

"Getting off the line of scrimmage was one of the toughest things for him with the speed at corner in the league. He's improved in that already (this spring). I think he's gotten faster. Then I think he's getting used to new quarterbacks. That's the biggest thing. To have the timing between quarterbacks that are working with him now."

Scrimmage Set

Arkansas will hold its first lengthy scrimmage of the spring in Reynolds Razorback Stadium today. It is schedule to begin at approximately 10:30 a.m. and is free and open to the public. Fans are asked to enter on the East Side of the stadium.

The scrimmage is scheduled to last between 50 to 60 plays. Nutt said it's almost impossible to stretch it any more because of thin numbers on the offensive line.

"Here's the problem, when you lose Jonathan Luigs, Cody Green is on the sideline, Zac Tubbs is on the sideline, Tony Ugoh is in track, you basically have eight offensive linemen," Nutt said. "Hopefully we can get Jonathan back next week so we can at least have two groups. You're dealing with about a group and a half right now. It makes it awfully tough to have a long scrimmage."

Injured Hogs

Tight end Jared Hicks didn't participate in Friday's workout after taking a blow to his surgically repaired right shoulder Thursday.

Hicks reached for an overthrown pass and was hit by strong safety Vickiel Vaughn on the first play of a 25-play scrimmage. Nutt said Hicks might have sustained a slight separation, but hopes he'll return next week.

"I'm glad we have numbers and depth at tight end," Nutt said.

Also, Lerinezo Robinson (split lip) and Keith Jackson (sprained knee) returned to work, but were limited after sustaining injuries Friday. Luigs (lacerated and punctured right calf) missed Friday's practice.

Pink Update

One day after six defensive players donned pink jerseys as a punishment for loafing too much the first two days of practice, seven Hogs sported the color Friday.

Defensive linemen Michael Tate, Marcus Harrison and Ernest Mitchell; linebackers D'Nerian Wrighter and Sam Olajubutu; and defensive backs Michael Coe and Shedrick Johnson were the Hogs singled out.

Tate and Olajubutu were the only two that wore pink for a second consecutive day.

The Hogs loaf total continued to drop after Thursday's scrimmage (85). Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring calculated 140 loafs Monday and 88 Tuesday.

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