Ford Confirms He Broke Three Vertebrae

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas free safety Elton Ford on Monday confirmed reports that he fractured three vertebrae in his neck, though he doesn't believe the injury is career-threatening.

Ford said he fractured his C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae, which run from the middle to the lower part of the neck. Since then, the freshman has been seen walking around campus wearing a neck brace.

"I'll be back next season," Ford said. "Like any injury, you don't know until you step on the field."

Ford started the first eight games of the season before suffering the injury in a 23-21 loss to Ole Miss in Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Oct. 25.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino announced two days later that Ford would miss the remainder of the season because of an "unfortunate" neck injury. Petrino didn't elaborate on the specifics of the injury.

Ford said he has been recovering from what he described as a "brutal injury." He recorded 42 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble before injuring his neck.

Former Arkansas fullback Peyton Hillis missed three games as a freshman in 2004 after suffering three broken vertebrae in his back.

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