ORLANDO, Fla. – Dealing with an right ankle injury since late September, more than most, De’Veon Smith needs the extra time of rest this bowl practice season to help his body get back to 100-percent healthy whether he admits it or not.
“I hope so, anybody gets better after not getting hit after two or three weeks or so,” Smith said of his health on Monday. “Only time will tell when get on the field this Friday.”
This Friday, Smith will take the field against Florida in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, his first game action since being limited to 23 yards on 10 carries in U-M’s 42-13 home loss to rival Ohio State on Nov. 28. And while his final outcome against the Buckeyes wasn’t what he wanted, he’s not blaming his ankle for the cause of his performance.
“I was feeling good,” Smith said when asked about how body felt after the Ohio State game. “Just things didn’t go the way I wanted them to go.”
Adding: “It really didn’t affect me too much. Yeah, you feel it sometimes here and there, but you just got to push through some things.”
In the meantime, Smith says he’s focused on staying healthy and getting ready for the Gators this week.
“Recovery is very critical to what coach (Tyrone) Wheatley preaches to us,” Smith said. “It helps us out tremendously having our bodies get rested day in and day out. I mean, I can’t complain about the rest I am getting.”
Michigan (9-3) plays against Florida (10-3) this Friday at 1 p.m.