Smith Eager To Get Back Into the Action

Tailback Tre Smith looks to be making progress on the road to recovery although he isn't ready yet to join the football Tigers on the practice field.

Auburn, Ala.--Tre Smith says he is glad he decided to make a visit to see football team trainer Arnold Gamber last week. That decision probably helped prevent a serious medical problem from becoming one that would cause him to miss part of the 2005 season.

On Tuesday, July 26th, the junior tailback spent the evening at East Alabama Medical Center having emergency surgery to have his appendix removed.

The surgery went well and a week later the projected starter at tailback says he is eager to get back out on the practice field. "I feel really good right now," he says.

Smith says when he stopped by to see Gamber, he didn't have a clue that his appendix was the problem. "I just thought I had a little stomach bug or something," he notes. "I thought I just ate something wrong. It was upsetting my stomach so my stomach was hurting a little bit.

"I had trouble sleeping (the night before) because I couldn't get comfortable," Smith adds. "It was a weird feeling in my stomach. I wasn't going to tell Arnold, but I was walking by the training room and I was thinking, ‘I might as well tell him because I figured I had a hard day of workouts and that would hurt.'

"They sent me over to Dr. (Michael) Goodlett," Smith adds. "Dr. Goodlett sent me over to get blood work and they sent me over to the hospital (East Alabama Medical Center). The doctor told me to take it out. I was like, okay."

Smith (22) pass protects during spring drills earlier this year.

Smith notes that the decision to tell the trainer what was going on was a wise one. "I heard if it had busted, it would have been a lot worse," the tailback says. "I am glad it didn't rupture.

"Dr. (Allen) Lazenby--he is the one who did the surgery--he told me (Tuesday) the only thing holding me back right now is the pain because it hurts pretty bad, but really because there are only a couple of incisions, little five millimeter incisions, he said it can't really get any worse and you are not going to hurt yourself or anything. Right now, I have to wait about a week until I am out there. Then, maybe another week after that, I should be able to lift real heavy.

"I will for sure be out there before the first game," the tailback adds. "The doctor told me there is a chance I could get a hernia or something where the incision was, but unless something goes wrong I should be back."

Smith took a medical hardship redshirt last season after suffering a shoulder injury early last fall. He says that problem is fine now. "My shoulder has been 100 percent for most of the summer," he says. "I have been lifting heavy all summer so it has been good."

With last year's dynamic senior running backs, Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, gone to the NFL, Smith has a golden opportunity to be the featured tailback this season. He says that he is thankful his problem didn't turn out to be so serious that it would have prevented him from having the opportunity to be the main man, something he has worked hard to become since arriving at AU as a highly regarded recruit from Venice, Fla., High School.

A big year by Smith could help fill the void left by the tailbacks and SEC Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Jason Campbell. Smith says the Auburn offense has high hopes for the running game. "Our goal is to be more productive than we were last year."

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