McFadden's Return Suffers Setback

FAYETTEVILLE — Darren McFadden's chances of playing in Saturday's season opener against sixth-ranked Southern California suffered a setback Thursday.

McFadden was held out of practice because of soreness in his injured left big toe, and there is reason to believe that the sophomore could miss the first game as originally expected.

When asked Thursday if there was a possibility that McFadden could play against USC, Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said, "I just don't know after today. It's hard to say."

Arkansas running backs coach Danny Nutt sounded less optimistic about the chances of McFadden playing a little more than a month after having surgery for a dislocated big toe.

"He's gotten better every day, but he hasn't taken a hit. I'm kind of scared to put him in," the younger Nutt said. "We're not sure yet, and he's not 100 percent. I talked to his daddy, and he's not 100 percent (about McFadden playing). We'll just have to wait and see."

McFadden had been listed as doubtful for the season opener, but his status was upgraded to questionable Wednesday after he practiced for the second time this week.

Houston Nutt said Thursday that McFadden will remain questionable for Saturday's season opener in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

In the meantime, sophomore Felix Jones is expected to get the bulk of the carries against the Trojans. Junior Peyton Hillis will also get some work.

It remains to be seen if Arkansas' coaches will be able to count on running back Michael Smith to play Saturday. The redshirt freshman has been bothered over the last few weeks with a pulled hamstring, the same injury that slowed Smith down last season.

When asked if Smith could play, Nutt said, "I don't know. It depends on the situation and how things are going with Felix and Peyton. We'll just see. He's also coming on as far as staying healthy, so it's good to have him back."

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