COLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri football program announced some significant injuries on Tuesday, though none are expected to keep the players from missing time next season.
Defensive end Charles Harris, who had seven sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss last season, underwent pre-planned surgery on March 29 to repair his right labrum. Offensive lineman Nate Crawford, one of the team’s two most experienced linemen, had surgery on his lower back on Monday, which was the second surgery on his back in two years. Reserve defensive end Nate Howard had a procedure to repair soft tissue in his left knee.
All three players will be sidelined for the remainder of spring practice. The school said Harris and Howard were expected to be recovered in time for summer drills, while Crawford is optimistic to be ready for summer workouts.
“The job that Dr. (Pat) Smith and Rex Sharp do with our guys that end up having surgery, through the procedure and then the rehab process, they don’t get near enough credit for how good they are,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said at the conclusion of Tuesday’s practice. “I would say they are the best in the country and Rex gave us a timeline on both of those guys (Harris and Crawford) and they will, without question, I think will be back early, early summer and be ready for fall camp.”
Odom said the procedure on the shoulder of Harris was the second for the second-team All-Southeastern Conference defensive end. He previously had work done on his left shoulder.
“We knew both of them were going to have to get done,” Odom said. “… We set aside the number of reps that we wanted to get going into spring practice and then knew we needed to get the other one taken care of and cleaned up. So we did that over break.”
“He’s not very long out of it, already heavy in the rehab process, but it was a planned thing that we knew the number of reps we wanted to get him and then get the procedure done where he’ll be his best starting in June.”
The Tigers also had some good news regarding injuries on Tuesday with defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. (right ACL) and safety Tavon Ross (left ACL) both getting some work in at practice while continuing to recover from their injuries.
NEW SIGNEE VISITS PRACTICE
Wide receiver Harry Ballard , a senior at McCluer North High School in suburban St. Louis, officially signed with the Tigers on Friday after committing to the program not long after Signing Day in February.
“We’re excited about his playmaking ability,” Odom said. “I think over the course of the time that Coach (Cornell) Ford recruited him, he knew at an early age that he had a chance to be a pretty good player. As we continued to recruit him and work through the last couple months, we were able to get it done and excited he’s here today and look forward to him being on campus.”
STUDENTS INVITED TO PRACTICE
The school has announced that students are invited to Thursday’s practice session, which is closed to the media.
“When I got the job we sat down as a marketing group with Ryan Bradley and Chad Moller and a host of people and thought the connection that our football program needs to have with our students, bring them with our student athletes,” Odom said. “So Thursday and it will probably rain and we’ll have to go inside and all that stuff. I’m excited to get as many as we can get and I would love for there to be 28,000 people here. There may be 28. But whoever it is we’re going to have a great time.”