Jason Allen thanks fans

Tennessee's Jason Allen vows to come back "bigger, faster, stronger" after suffering a season-ending hip injury during Saturday's game against Georgia.

The senior defensive back said his hip came out of joint but went right back in during the collision with Georgia tight end Leonard Pope late in the first half. Allen made the tackle but was taken from the field on a stretcher. X-rays and an MRI were performed at UT Medical Center before Allen was discharged that night around 9 p.m.

"It was painful, but right now I'm just taking it one day at a time," Allen said. "It's nothing major. People want to compare it to the Bo Jackson injury, but his came all the way out of place and mine wasn't that serious.

Allen will be on crutches for 6-8 weeks, after which he will resume walking on his own and begin therapy with the UT Sports Medicine Staff.

"It's just an injury that happened," Allen said. "It's not going to hold me down and I'll be back stronger than ever. I'm staying positive and I thank all the fans and the student body for their support. I really appreciate it."

The Vol captain noted that he made the first (2003) and last (2005) collegiate starts of his career against Georgia in Neyland Stadium. In between, Allen garnered All-SEC status in 2004 along with third-team All-America honors from Associated Press. He led the SEC in tackles last season with 123, becoming the first non-linebacker to lead UT in tackles since records began in 1970.

Allen was Tennessee's leading tackler again this year when the injury occurred.

"I was really blessed to represent the T on the helmet and to represent the University of Tennessee playing football," Allen said. "I appreciate everyone who has been there for me throughout my years there, starting with the president and the athletics director, Coach Fulmer, all my coaches as well as the support staff and the fans. I appreciate everyone and always will be a Volunteer."

The Muscle Shoals, Ala., native has received medical consultation to date from Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham, Ala., and Dr. Thomas Byrd of Nashville. Andrews is a renowned orthopedist, while Byrd's specialty is hip injuries.

For now, the recovery has begun for one of the leaders of the Tennessee football family.

"Emotionally, the most difficult thing for me is not being on the practice field," Allen said. "Knowing I can't practice, can't run through the T and can't be there with my teammates -- that's probably the hardest thing right now. I'll get back where I need to be and prepare myself for the NFL.

"From a physical standpoint, I'll get back where I need to be and beyond that. I'll get back bigger, faster, stronger."

Allen encourages fans wishing to reach him do so by e-mailing to his campus address: jallen8@utk.edu.

"I appreciate all the e-mails and cards from the fans," he said. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate them."

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