Hillis Won't Need Surgery

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas fullback Peyton Hillis will not need surgery to remove a calcium buildup in his right thigh, athletic trainer Dean Weber said Wednesday.

Hillis underwent a procedure in mid-December to try to break up some of the scar tissue in his leg. But Weber said surgery has never been discussed as an option for the fullback, who was an integral part of Arkansas' running game when healthy this past season.

"There was never talk of (surgery)," Weber said.

Hillis missed Arkansas' final four games because of a severe thigh bruise that limited his mobility and prevented him from practicing for an extended period of time.

The Conway native tried to practice in December with the hope of being healthy enough to play in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1. But he was unable to take part in the 17-14 loss to No. 7 Wisconsin.

At the time, Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said Hillis had a large buildup of calcium that was "like a hard bone." But Weber said the problem won't require surgery.

"He's doing well," Weber said, adding that Hillis has a full range of motion in his right leg.

When asked if he thought Hillis would be able to take part in spring practices, Weber said, "I think so." Hillis is entering his senior season.

Before getting injured in a 31-14 win over Tennessee on Nov. 11, Hillis was a key blocker for Arkansas running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.

The 6-foot-2, 238-pound fullback rushed for only 57 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries this past season. But he finished tied for second on the team in receptions with 19 catches for 159 yards.

Hillis was also Arkansas' primary punt returner over the first half of the season, returning eight punts for 92 yards.

Meanwhile, Weber said starting defensive end Ernest Mitchell and backup defensive tackle Cord Gray each have had arthroscopic surgery since the end of the season to repair torn cartilage.

"They're doing well," Weber said.

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