Cope Hoping to Return to Action

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn center Joe Cope, who has missed the last four games with a sprained right knee, says that he is ready to get back on the field and possibly play this against Arkansas State on Saturday.

"I hadn't really sat down with the coaches yet, but I think I'll have a chance to play this week," Cope said Sunday night. "I need to get in there a little bit this week, get in the flow of the game, get a little of the rust off the shoulder pads and getting the pads popping again."

At "anywhere from 90 to 100 percent," Cope hasn't had any live action since the South Carolina game on Sept. 28. He suffered the injury in the second quarter but played through the pain and finished the game. He says he'll be able to do it again if need be with upcoming games against Georgia and Alabama on the schedule.

"I'm pretty much pain free right now," he says. "I've just been running and doing a little cutting here and there. I'm pretty sure I'll feel a little bit of pain every now and then if I get banged on it or hit on it. It's nothing big. You can play through pain."

Last week in practice he worked some one-on-one drills to get used to contact, but says he is ready for some 11-on-11 work.

"I started running last Tuesday and it's been going real good," Cope says. "Everything is starting to come back and my strength is nearly back. I'm rehabbing it every day and doing a lot of weight workouts trying to get my quad back strong. I run, cut and all of that and it feels real good near 100 percent. Hopefully this week I'll start hitting a bit and see where I'm at.

"It's always mental when you go out there when you're coming off an injury," he adds. "You're always trying to watch out and you don't want anybody to hit it. I'll have so much adrenaline going out to practice just because I haven't been out there for a while. I don't even think I'll be worrying about it much."

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