Heath out of boot; talks about injury

Brandon Heath arrived at Louisville's first practice Friday afternoon wearing a protective boot on his left foot. Saturday morning, the boot was gone. What's the latest on the former four-star safety? Could Heath return in time for the season opener? InsideTheVille.com spoke with Heath Saturday morning and has the latest.

Brandon Heath showed up at Louisville's first preseason practice Friday afternoon wearing a protective boot on his left foot. Saturday, the boot was gone.

"I just got out of the boot (Friday) night after practice," Heath told InsideTheVille.com during the team's Media Day event Saturday morning inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. "I'm walking on it a little bit better."

Heath, one of the Cardinals top recruits, was expected to compete for playing time right away as a true freshman. One of the top players in Florida last season, Heath arrived at U of L earlier this summer to get a head start in the classroom and on the field. Two weeks ago, though, the 6'1, 195 safety suffered a minor setback.

"I hurt my foot during summer conditioning a couple weeks ago," said Heath, who wore the protective boot for the past two weeks. "I planted wrong and my foot got caught up in the turf. I sprained it a little and had a fractured bone in my left foot."

After practice Friday, Heath met with team doctors, who OK'd the removal of the protective device.

"The doctor told me I could take the boot off and walk around without," Heath said. "If it starts hurting again, we'll put the boot back on."

Heath, who will wear No. 5 this season, seemed in good spirits Saturday morning.

"I'm feeling really good," he said. "I'm in therapy and getting a lot of treatment. I get treatment about an hour a day."

Whether Heath will play or redshirt this season remains to be seen. It's unlikely he'd be ready to go for the September 3 season opener against Kentucky, though he could return to practice before that game against the Wildcats.

"I'll probably be out another two or three weeks," Heath said. "The first week I hurt my foot I had a lot of pain and swelling. But right now, I'm able to flex it and move it around a lot."

Heath admitted that the injury will likely force him to play catch up once he's cleared to return to practice.

"It probably puts me behind in my position," Heath said. "But as far as knowing my playbook, I still go to team meetings and see what we're doing on the field. I'm just taking it one day at a time."

The freshman safety made it clear he'd like to play this season.

"Yes, everybody wants to play," Heath said. "Once I get back, I want to compete and do my best."

That's why Heath made it a point to arrive in Louisville shortly after graduating from Palm Beach Lakes High School. Heath enrolled in summer classes at U of L in June – he took public speaking and first aid classes – and worked out with teammates during the afternoon.

"I got up here early in June and worked out for two months," Heath said. "I got to meet a lot of players when I first got here and we just bonded from there. I've just been working out with the team since I came in."

Heath spoke highly of his fellow classmates, a recruiting class that ranked 26th nationally according to Scout.com.

"The class that I came in with we're already close," Heath said. "Me, Peanut Whitehead, Johnny Patrick, Anthony Allen and a lot of others came up in June. We were roommates, so we got to know each other. Then a second group of players came up in July, and we had class together. So everybody has bonded good."

Heath said the newcomers intend to work hard and earn their respect – and playing time.

"We know we have to work hard and earn the respect of our teammates and coaches," said Heath.

Heath, who chose Louisville over West Virginia on signing day, said he's looking forward to playing the Mountaineers later this season.

"That game is circled, November 2," Heath said. "I'm going to be ready for it. We've got high expectations. We have two Heisman candidates and the defense is coming along good."

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