Iowa has been a bruised and battered team this year with a countless number of injuries. Several players have missed time from a list that includes Anthony Gair, Miles Taylor, Drew Ott, Nate Meier, Jordan Walsh, Boone Myers, Ike Boettger, LeShun Daniels, Jordan Canzeri, Derrick Mitchell, Tevaun Smith, and Jake Duzey.
Gair was only out for a brief stretch, similarly to Miles Taylor and Jordan Walsh. Drew Ott suffered two different injuries, the second of which sidelined him for the rest of the season. Boettger has a lower leg injury that he still has yet to return from. Mitchell missed the first few games with a lingering injury from fall camp. Tevaun Smith had a knee issue that he now is completely healed from. Jake Duzey went down with a significant knee injury in the spring and has only played sparingly this year.
Jordan Canzeri's ankle injury occurred during Northwestern and he is not expected to be able to play against Indiana in a week. Nate Meier missed some of the fourth quarter in the most recent game against Maryland and did not return. It is not believed that Meier's injury is overly serious but he did have his arm in a sling afterwards.
That covers everyone but Boone Myers and LeShun Daniels. Both got their first action of conference play this weekend against Maryland and both appeared to be operating at a high level, especially Daniels.
Daniels had the same burst and power we saw from him in the first two games of the year. He looked 100 percent and it was a refreshing sign for his teammates, fans, and himself.
"Yeah, (it was refreshing)," Daniels stated. "It was huge to get in the end zone early. I'm just thankful to get in there and contribute to the team. I thought it was huge."
He was on his game early and often. He was running through arm tackles and slicing through holes with some pep in his step.
"Yeah, a little bit (on a mission)," Daniels admitted. "If anything was going to happen today, it wasn't going to be me not running hard. It was huge for me to hit the holes and bring tacklers with me."
After the injury, Daniels initially played in games against North Texas and Pittsburgh but was far from healthy. He was limited in what he could do and couldn't have the impact on the game that he wanted or that the coaching staff wanted. Instead of battling through that they put him on the shelf for the next three games. It seems like that plan was an effective one.
"Yeah, (it was tough)," Daniels pointed out about not being able to play for the Hawkeyes. "You just want to be out there. You want to help the team. I want to go out and make plays. Obviously everyone else is out there making plays, and you root for them, but it's like 'man I want to be out there'. I want to help contribute to that. I just had to be patient and waited for my time. (I was) going through the treatment and things like that to eventually help you get on the field."
Myers had an injury against North Texas. The starting left tackle for Iowa had to miss the first three Big Ten games of the season. His return was a welcome one as it brought back a little bit of stability to the offensive line.
"I kept working out this week," Myers shared. "I came back, just like riding a bike."
Myers was one of the question marks on the team this year, being the brand new left tackle on the team without any experience. He was a former walk-on which only added to the anxiety about how effective the unit would perform as a whole. He was more than adequate in the first four games and it really raised his confidence level. He's now back in a full-time role and happy to be in the lineup.
"Oh yeah (I'm 100 percent)," he pointed out. "I got there sometime during this week. I don't know the exact time but it was some time during the week."
With Myers back at 100 percent, the next step in solidifying quarterback C.J. Beathard's protection will be to return their opening day starting right tackle. Ike Boettger should be close to 100 percent as well and I wouldn't rule him out for the Indiana game next Saturday.