By the looks of things, muscle beach (a nickname used by the players to describe rehabilitation workouts in the weight room for injured players) has been good to Unga who is very solid and fit. In fact, standing next to fullback Manase Tonga, Unga looks to be a bit bigger having put on a few pounds of muscle definition on his arms and legs.
At the moment, Unga does not do anything really strenuous or physical out on the practice field. He suits up in his blue BYU jersey and short and comes out with the team and works out with the quarterbacks jogging routes and catching balls during quarterback drills.
"It's the cuts that are killing me right now," Unga said. "I am getting better though. It's coming along. It's something to do and I wish I was out there with the guys. I come out and warm up with the quarterbacks. I'm just trying to get the plays down. I'm helping the quarterbacks a little here and there. I'm just trying to get back into things a little bit slowly."
With Unga making his way back onto the team, the rumors about his injury being career ending should be put to rest.
"Nah, that's a joke," said a perplexed Unga about the rumors that he was done with football. "A little hip thing is not going to hold me back. It's not going to hold me back, and I'll be back out here when I'm ready to go. I'll just eat some puaka [Tongan for pig] and some lu pulu [beef rapped in cabbage leaf] and I'll be fine. You would basically have to paralyze me or something to stop me or to keep me from coming back and playing football. I'm not going to stop. It's a long process but better safe than sorry."
With Unga preparing himself as best he can to return to the team, the time when he will join his teammates will more than likely come following spring practice.
"There's possibly a chance, but not as of the Utah game," Unga said about returning to practice for spring ball. "The doctor says no, but in talking with Kevin [Morris] and Jeff [Hurst] they're just going to try and work me out as good as possible and see where it goes from there. I'm hoping around summer or fall I'll be good, somewhere around there. I'll be back for fall for sure.
"I talked to Coach Reynolds about it today and he says what ever the doctor says is best. He said, ‘You're in no rush so just go with it.' That's pretty much what I've been doing."
Despite the difficult times of not being a part of the team, prolonging his college football career has been the most difficult part but Unga has found a way to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
"It's been a little tough on me because I want to be out there," said Unga. "It's kind of been a positive process because playing football and school can be tough, but having this time to focus on school has really helped me to focus and get a lot of school work done and staying on top of things."
BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall announced today that junior cornerback Tico Pringle has been suspended from the team due to a violation of team rules. Pringle is not currently practicing with the team and he will not travel to the Las Vegas Bowl game.