Moore Out To Prove Toughness

Running back Mewelde Moore is out to show that he can recover quickly from an injury and says this year's preseason ankle injury is much different that last year's regular-season version.

Mewelde Moore is out to prove that the "soft" rap he received last year was unjust.

After an impressive three-game stretch in 2004 in which he averaged 179 yards from scrimmage, Moore suffered a high ankle sprain. He needed a month to recover, and spent five games on the inactive list before returning to action as a backup.

The recovery time was a concern for head coach Mike Tice, who indicated he didn't believe Moore wanted to play in pain.

"With my ankle sprain last year, I don't care what nobody says. That's something that takes time," Moore said last week. "Each body is different. Actually, I made it early. They say four to six weeks. I made it early on that, but only got to play until the fifth week – they didn't have any room."

His ankle sprain this preseason is much less severe, not considered a high ankle sprain, but he wasn't sure initially.

"I didn't know. All I knew was that I could walk this year, and last year when I got up it kind of felt like my bones were stuck together. When I got up (initially after the injury), I got up and it felt like a bad twist."

"When I felt I could walk – I could walk back to the locker room, I could walk to my car – I knew it wasn't (a high sprain). Thank God. Going through that back to back, that wouldn't be good."

This year, Moore has already returned to practice. He was working on the sidelines with trainer Chuck Barta last Thursday, working on conditioning and cutting in an effort to ensure the ankle is stable before the regular begins this Sunday against Tampa Bay.

"I'm cutting. I'm moving. All we need is that initial burst that I've always had," Moore said last week. "You can deal with initial pain as long as you have the things that you know you bring to the table – your burst and stuff like that. I'm just waiting on those things to come. I think a little rest and I'll be fine."

Moore got that rest over the weekend. He didn't suit up for Friday's preseason finale in Seattle, and the players got Sunday and Tuesday off. He was asked if he would have been able to play on Friday if it was a regular-season game.

"I don't necessarily know about that. I do know that I'm doing very well right now. Recovery is being good; God is blessing me, he's taking care of me and he's helping me get to a speedy recovery. I think a lot of people around here are a little shocked at how fast I'm bouncing back from it."

Michael Bennett, who has been named the starter if he's healthy, is recovering from a neck sprain. Between Moore and Bennett, Tice said he would go with the hot back in Sunday's regular-season opener.

"We will go with whoever looks the best in the game," Tice said Monday. "If Michael looks good, that will be a plus for us. It's a lot of days off for a couple of those guys, so I am expecting a little rust (Monday) and no rust on Wednesday. Hopefully that will play out that way. Normally things don't play out the way you want. I'm hoping that's the way it plays out, but the rust is today and Wednesday everybody looks pretty good. That will give me great comfort in going with the original plan."

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