Dick Visits With Doctor in Little Rock

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick met with a doctor in Little Rock on Tuesday to try to get another opinion on what could be done to help his nagging back injury.

Dick tried to practice Monday night for the first time in a week, but the sophomore left around an hour later after complaining of tightness in his back.

Realizing that Dick's back injury wasn't getting much better with rest and standard treatment, Arkansas athletic trainer Dean Weber and assistant athletic trainer Eric Linson sent the quarterback to Little Rock to meet with Rob Tillman, a physician.

"After several imaging scans and evaluations, they have confirmed that Casey has muscle tightness facilitated by a stress reaction at L2 (vertebrae)," Weber said in a statement released Tuesday night through the university.

"When I spoke with Casey today, he said the rehabilitation he underwent in Little Rock almost nearly matched what we have been doing here."

Dick has missed most of the first two weeks of preseason practice with soreness in his back, and Arkansas coach Houston Nutt indicated Tuesday night that the starting quarterback job is between either junior Robert Johnson and freshman Mitch Mustain.

"Obviously, ya'll know, he (Dick) is behind right now," Nutt said. "We'll listen to what the doctors have to say, but in my mind right now today, it's Robert Johnson and Mitch, the quarterbacks that have been out here on the field."

But Nutt stopped short of naming a starter.

When asked if Johnson would start the season opener against the University of Southern California on Sept. 2, Nutt said, "Don't know that yet. We (the coaches) are going to talk real hard. We're going to try to get this thing done this week, try to get this starting quarterback (named)."

Dick is expected to return today from Little Rock, but it could be awhile before he gets back on the practice field. In the meantime, he will continue to get treatment in the hopes of rejoining the team.

"We will continue this course of therapy," Weber said. "As soon as Casey reaches the point where he can return, he will."

Dick entered the fall as the favorite to be named Arkansas' starting quarterback. He replaced Johnson as the starter for the final four games last season, and despite struggling in spring practices, Dick remained atop the depth chart.

Coaches later learned that Dick's back affected his play in the spring, and it has limited the amount of work he has been able to do so far in preseason practices.

Nutt had hoped that Dick's visit to the doctor in Little Rock would somehow help his recovery.

"(We're) just trying do everything we can to see exactly if we can zero in on the problem. Is there anything else we can do?" Nutt said. "(We're) just trying to explore every avenue possible to get him healthy."

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