Monday Grid Update, 8/13

The injury update on senior wide receiver Marcus Monk wasn't good on Monday. The Hogs may have to play a few games without one of their top offensive weapons.

Arkansas senior Marcus Monk had arthroscopic surgery Monday afternoon. The news wasn't as good as last week when an MRI revealed no torn ligaments.

Monk, an All-SEC performer and the UA record holder for career touchdown receptions, will miss at least four weeks, although UA trainer Dean Weber wasn't specific on when the senior split end will return.

"We hope he'll return in approximately four to six weeks," Weber said, emphasizing the word hope. Weber said the tears were "small," and noted that there was some "abrated" tissue that was repaired, too.

Weber said Monk had "no torn ligaments." Repairs were done to his cartilage and his miniscus.

Weber said rehab would begin immediately. He said at the request of the player, no further updates would be provided for at least two weeks.

Here is the statement released by Weber after Monday's workout on Monk:

"Marcus Monk underwent an arthroscopy on his right knee today to repair a small tear in the posterior horn of the lateral meniscus. In addition, he had an articular cartilage fracture of the lateral femoral condyle. Pieces of articular cartilage were removed and the condyle was abraded to enhance faster healing. He will be on an aggressive rehabilitation program emphasizing early motion. Hopefully he will be able to return in four to six weeks."

London Crawford was elevated to starting split end. Reggie Fish is the current starter at flanker. Others in the mix for playing time include Marques Wade, Robert Johnson, Chris Baker, Crosby Tuck and Carlton Salters.

In another position update, Elston Forte was moved from safety to backup weakside linebacker behind Ryan Powers. Forte made an impressive hit in Saturday's scrimmage prompting the move. Reggie Herring, defensive coordinator, raved about Forte's peformance after practice Monday.

"That was a great surprise, what Elston did tonight," Herring said. "He's there one day and he's busting fewer assignments than anyone else we have there. We are very pleased. It's unbelievable really. I think we found us a player."

Defensive end Antwain Robinson watched practice in t-shirt and shorts. He is still listed as day-to-day with a sore knee. Chris Wade, also at defensive end, did not practice after receiving a concussion last week. Adrian Wade and Van Stumon took the snaps with the first team at defensive end.

On offense, fullback Peyton Hillis, guard Joey Crossland and tackle Nate Garner all exited early. Hillis had a sore hamstring. Crossland appeared to turn an ankle. Garner was dizzy after a blow to the head. None of those injuries appeared serious. All three wanted to return to practice. Still out with a "shoulder stinger" was tight end Ben Cleveland. Punter/placekicker Jeremy Davis sat out with a sore nerve in his foot and is expected back Tuesday.

Nutt said the team pushed through a difficult and hot practice with temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees on the artificial surface. The Hogs usually do the team work on the artificual surface, but moved to the grass on Monday for most of the work.

"We finished with a two-minute drill and we tried to push them through the heat," Nutt said. "There were a few missed assignments, but we are getting better. For the most part, they are pushing through the tough part of August workouts."

On the loss of Nutt, the head coach said "the news could have been worse. He has no torn ligaments. It's still a tough loss. We have to roll up our sleeves and get to work. The good news is that we have a chance to get him back.

"Is it Alabama? I don't know. It's whenever the doctors say he can play."

Placekicker Alex Tejada, after several encouraging performances in a row, had a down day Monday. He missed three straight kicks (two wide left, one wide right) to conclude the two-minute drills.

On a good note, quarterback Casey Dick had one of his best days. Nutt said Dick was extremely accurate in all phases of practice.

"I think I'm getting the stride thing down," Dick said, noting quarterback coach David Lee has worked with him on shortening his stride as he throws. "We've worked a lot in practice with a cinder block in front of me. I'm getting it better and better. I feel 10 times better with it now. I see the difference. I am progressing every day.

"We are still missing some assignments, but we are doing some good things, too. We are getting better."

Asked about the loss of Monk, Dick said, "That's a blow. Anytime you lose a player like that, it's a blow. He's a big target with long arms and he catches everything. He's a great player. It's an opportunity for someone to step up, though. You see guys trying to step up."

London Crawford said he'd gladly play behind Monk and wished the 6-6 wideout could be out there instead.

"But we all imagine ourselves at that spot and we are going to do what we can to fill the role," Crawford said. "I pray for him and I love him. He's a great, great player. Still, we have to want to be out there and I want to be out there. I just wish he was still with us.

"You know, we've all been trying to step up to be the other guy with him. It can't be just Monk, Monk, Monk. He is the best. I thought he would be back out here right away. Never did I think it was something that would keep him off the field."

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