The inspiration of teammates and family members kept Lathers motivated to rehab both injuries enough to return to the football field. He did so Tuesday morning for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery in the offseason.
"Herman got some good scout team work today," Derek Dooley said Tuesday. "I wouldn't say that he is full-blow ready to go, but it was good to see him get the pads on and take a couple of hits. We are just kind of monitoring it day-by-day. He is not close to 100 percent so we don't want to get too excited."
The redshirt junior has missed all of the 2011 season with the injury following a 2010 season when he started 12 games for the Vols. In those 12 games Lathers ranked second among his teammates in tackles with 75, fourth in sacks with 2.5 and sixth in tackles for loss with 4.5.
The Baton Rouge, La. native even snagged 2009 Freshman All-SEC Coaches honors when he started five games for the Vols and collected 43 tackles.
Even with his return, the issue is still in doubt whether Volunteer fans will see Lathers on the field this fall.
"Hopeful is a good word, but I don't expect him to," Dooley said following Wednesday's practice.
In speaking with Lathers, it is evident that there is still a relevant amount of pain that he is experiencing in his left ankle. To see what Lathers had to say about his injury and rehab watch his comments below.