Uncertainty Comes With Dick's Back Injury

FAYETTEVILLE -- Running back Darren McFadden's injured toe is no longer the biggest issue at Arkansas' practices.

Instead, it's quarterback Casey Dick's sore back.

Coach Houston Nutt said Monday that he wanted to name a starting quarterback by the middle of next week. But those plans have changed as a result of Dick missing four of the first seven days of practice with soreness in his back.

And the sophomore, who was considered the favorite to earn the starting job, will be sidelined for at least another few days.

Dick had an MRI and an X-ray on his back Friday morning to double check "some things," Nutt said. The results came back negative.

"It makes you feel good just because ... nothing is wrong," Dick said Friday night. "So, we've just got to go in there and keep rehabbing and doing what we're doing, just go in there and fix it and make it come back.

"Hopefully, (it will) be 100 percent by Monday."

Dick didn't take part in either of Arkansas' two practices on Friday, and his back injury doesn't appear to be getting much better in spite of the rest and daily treatments.

Nutt said Dick will not participate when the Razorbacks hold their first preseason scrimmage at 6:40 p.m. today at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Dick is not expected to return to the practice field until Monday at the earliest.

"He's going to take probably 2-3 days (off). Doctors want him to rest, just do some core exercises with those stomach muscles and keep working," Nutt said, "hopefully, Monday get him back on the field."

Despite missing four days of practice, Dick expected to get some work in the scrimmage. He didn't learn that he would be held out of the entire scrimmage until he was informed by a reporter Friday night.

"He (Nutt) calls the shots, so that's fine with me," Dick said.

The back injury is believed to be the same one that affected Dick's play during spring practices. It will also prevent Nutt from naming the starting quarterback by the middle of next week, as he had hoped.

Nutt said he won't name a starter until Dick gets a chance to return to the practice field and compete for the job. As a freshman last season, Dick started the last four games after Johnson was benched.

"I got to wait for Casey Dick. I got to give him a chance, see how he is and give him a fair opportunity," Nutt said. "So, that might change a little bit, but just give us a little chance."

In the meantime, Johnson and Mustain will continue to get more reps in practice because of Dick's absence.

Nutt said both Johnson and Mustain will take snaps with the first-team offense during today's scrimmage, though both quarterbacks will wear green "no-contact" jerseys as a precaution.

Dick admits it's been frustrating having to miss most of the first week of practice, and he realizes that the time away has affected his chances of earning the starting job.

"You're always losing ground just by not practicing," Dick said. "But you've just got to go out there when you come back. You've got to be able to compete, go out there and have fun and be happy that you're back out there with your teammates."

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