Leonhard hoping for speedy return

Former UW free safety has been ailed by stress fracture

MADISON – Jim Leonhard is not accustomed to being injured. Perhaps that is why the pain in his left foot went unheeded during the latter portion of the 2004 football season. Leonhard, a 5-foot-8, 190-pound free safety, could not compete with his teammates at Wisconsin's Pro Timing Day Wednesday — not with the boot on his left foot protecting a stress fracture.

"I had it probably this last half of this year," Leonhard said. "Didn't think it was anything too big until the end and then got an MRI and it showed up to be a little worse than we thought."

Leonhard received the MRI following the Badgers' Outback Bowl loss to Georgia.

"I've never missed a game, never missed anything all through college and then to have this happen at the end is real frustrating," he said. "Not really a situation I've been in. So, it's frustrating just watching all these guys work out and just knowing that you should be there with them."

After an excellent career at Wisconsin, Leonhard could be using this time to impress scouts with his athleticism. Instead, he has been stuck rehabilitating his injury. "I'm doing pool work and bike work and all that," he said, "just not running. It kind of hurts."

Still, Leonhard expects to have the boot off soon. Once he is completely recovered he hopes to schedule individual workouts with NFL teams.

"We'll see," he said. "We're just kind of playing it by how it feels and once I get the green light I'll start hitting up a lot more stuff."

Leonhard went to the NFL Scouting Combine in February and posted an impressive 19 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. But he could not run or jump, a feeling of limitation he has not felt since breaking his leg his freshman year of high school. In the seven years in between, Leonhard never missed a game.

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