Harrison's Return For Season Opener

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas defensive tackle Marcus Harrison might not return from a serious knee injury as quickly as his coaches had originally hoped.

Arkansas athletic trainer Dean Weber agreed with defensive coordinator Reggie Herring on Monday that it's "a stretch" to think that Harrison will be ready in time for the Sept. 1 season opener against Troy University.

"It's a stretch, sure," Weber said. "But we just have to monitor this thing to see how it's going."

Weber said Harrison's rehabilitation from reconstructive knee surgery is coming along well, adding that the senior will be able to go through non-contract drills when the Razorbacks open preseason practices on Saturday.

But Weber said it's too early to tell for sure whether Harrison will be healthy enough to face Troy in the season opener in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"He'll start out doing some of these drills like everybody else (at practice), but there is no contact here for awhile. All that's part of his rehab anyway," Weber said. "So yeah, he's coming around, he really is."

Harrison was expected to enter the season as one of Arkansas' starting defensive tackles, but his status remains uncertain because of the anterior cruciate ligament he tore in his left knee during the first week of spring practices.

Harrison had surgery April 10, and the recovery time is usually several months. Still, Arkansas' coaches had hoped that the senior would be ready by the first game of the season.

Weber said he'll keep a close eye on Harrison during practice, and the trainers will determine how much the Little Rock native can do based on how he feels after each session.

"We're going to monitor (his knee) to see if it swells or see if it gets sore," Weber said. "Obviously, we're going to try to keep him from that point."

Harrison was expected to provide some much-needed experience to a defensive line that lost defensive end Jamaal Anderson and defensive tackle Keith Jackson Jr. to the NFL in April.

Junior Ernest Mitchell, who filled in for Harrison last season when he had his knee scoped in late September, is listed as the starting defensive tackle opposite Harrison.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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