Jon Gannon makes return

Following a hip injury late in the 2002 season, junior Jon Gannon made his first return to practice on Thursday.

Louisville safety Jon Gannon was once looked upon by many as one the next great athletes to play in Cardinals secondary. Following an impressive four years at Cleveland's St. Ignatius High School, where he was named All-State as a senior, Gannon committed to U of L over offers from a number of high Division I programs.

After being named the Scout Team Defensive MVP following his redshirt season in 2001, Gannon started making his presence felt in the U of L secondary. During the 2002 season, Gannon saw action in nine contests, but following his first career start on November 7th, against rival Cincinnati, he suffered a severe hip injury and was lost for the season's last few games.

His hip injury was so severe that he was forced to the sideline for the entire 2003 season and many expected that he'd never see action on the gridiron again.

Those opinions were proven wrong when the Cardinals opened spring practice on Thursday afternoon and Gannon trotted onto the practice fields and took part in numerous drills.

To those watching, he seemed to be the Jon Gannon that many knew before the injury. He was a vocal presence and an obvious leader on the field. However, while his return to the practice fields is impressive, Gannon still has significant improvement to make before returning to full action.

"I'm not healed yet, but the trainers and strength coaches did a great job," Gannon told Inside the Ville. "It's just an injury that takes some time and Coach Petrino has given me that time. It's coming along. I'm not healed totally yet, but I'm doing enough so I can now put on a helmet."

Without question, it was a gratifying experience and one that was 16 months in the making for the junior.

"Two days ago the equipment manager was putting my pads in my helmet and I had to measured again because it has been so long," Gannon continued. "It felt real good to get back out there with the guys and run around."

While his presense is impressive, Gannon remains focused on the future, when he can join his teammates in full scrimmages.

"I'm not going to put a percentage on it because I'm not full go yet," explained the 6'1, 195-pound safety. "I'm doing some things, but I still need to improve my one on one. I don't know if I'm going to scrimmage or not, but if I can get my movements on the field back, then hopefully I'll be hitting come August."

While he may not start hitting again until the start of fall camp, Gannon remains focused on his goal of returning to full action.

"Mentally it's not a problem for me," said Gannon. "If I can get back to where I was with my physical abilities then there is no question in my mind that I can contribute."

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