How is that dreaded high ankle sprain?
"It's getting better. I got to run around and play a little bit today. At times it felt good and that at times it didn't feel so good. It's something I'm going to have to work out and keep on it, because I'm looking forward to playing this weekend. It's a pain I definitely I think I can play with."
Is it getting better every day? By Saturday do you anticipate it will have improved? "I definitely think I'm going to feel a lot better on Saturday than I do today. There are some days though that you feel that you've taken two days back. All you can do is pray. I've been on my knees. So it's coming along great. I felt good today. I got to come out today and do some teamwork, so seven-on-seven, for the first time in three weeks, and it felt good."
How tough is it for you to watch and not play and what impact do you think you bring to the team on the field?
"I feel down when I'm not playing. That's just my personal feeling. It's the position I play, and that's what I came here for. As a team, we just have to get better. Whatever I can do to help, whether it's out there on the field or the sideline, I'm going to do it. If it's vocally encouraging guys, whatever it is I have to do. Everyone has a role on this team. Whatever my role is going to be on Saturday I'm going to do it to the best of my ability."
If you had to say your ankle was at what percentage, what would you say?
"About 75% to 80% right now."
But you're prepared to play?
"I'm prepared to play."
How much do you think you'll play?
"I haven't heard yet how much I'm going to play. I think it will just go by how much the ankle is feeling. My goal is to start out the first six series and then take a series down or so."
If the temperature's warmer, does that help?
"Yeah, it definitely helps if it warms up. It feels better when it's warmed up. But at the same time there are certain positions when you're playing the game and your ankle isn't in the best position, that you just take for granted. Small positions, that some of them tweak a little bit. You never know. Even when it's warm, and the ankle's feeling good and warmed up, sometimes you might take a bad step, and make it hurt a little bit. It's pretty much unknown. I'm just going to play on Saturday and see how it comes."
Have you played injured before? And do you think about it on the field?
"I try not to. But obviously when you have a pain out there like that it's going to cross your mind. I'm dealing with it right now. I'm just trying to work on playing through it right now. I think I did a pretty good job of that today, doing just the first half of practice today. It's definitely an injury that's on your mind. I haven't really been injured seriously like this before. I feel like I can play with this pain today going on what I felt today."
How important is the Illinois game?
"Huge game. We're 0-1 right now and we need a win under our belt before we go up to Washington. This is a great opportunity for us. Illinois is a great team, in the Big Ten. We're going there, and we should be amped to go out there and take a win on their home turf. I'm looking forward to it."