FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas' players returned to practice Sunday after having the last two days off, and it was apparent that the break helped several who were injured, sick or fatigued come back in better shape.
Fullback Peyton Hillis ran hard during a team drill early in practice, fielded punts a little later on and showed no apparent signs that he was still bothered by the thigh bruise that kept him out of all but the opening kickoff against Alabama.
"(Athletic trainer) Dean (Weber) expected this. He felt if we gave (Hillis) some time off last week, he'd come back real close to full speed," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "We think he's really close to full speed, so it was good to have him back. It was a good lift for him and us, too."
Nutt said he wasn't sure, though, if Hillis would continue returning punts or let senior Cedric Washington take over the duties.
"We'll see how that goes this week," Nutt said. "Cedric did a good job, and we have Peyton doing some many things (on the team). We'll wait and see."
Meanwhile, running back Darren McFadden (tonsillitis) and defensive end Antwain Robinson (hip pointer) returned to practice after they each missed several days last week.
Usually, the Razorbacks (3-1, 2-0 SEC) don't practice much on Sundays. It's typically only 45 minutes long and not that extensive.
But after having Friday off and not playing a game Saturday, Nutt decided to run his team through an approximately 90-minute practice Sunday afternoon to start preparing for second-ranked Auburn (5-0, 3-0 SEC).
"(The focus was) excellent, but that's the way it should be, though," Nutt said. "Two days off, it's time to go and you're playing one of the top teams in the country."
Nutt said quarterback Mitch Mustain looked refreshed after having a few days off to let his arm rest. Mustain admitted last week that his arm felt fatigued against Alabama, causing him to struggle with his accuracy.
Mustain shared snaps with sophomore Casey Dick during Sunday's practice, but the freshman is expected to get the bulk of the work when the Razorbacks return to practice Tuesday.
They don't practice Monday.
But not everyone was able to come back following the break. Defensive tackle Marcus Harrison, who had arthroscopic knee surgery last week, missed practice and is not expected for Saturday's game at Auburn.
"I wouldn't count on him this week," Nutt said.
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