Lots of football Hawks banged up, Edds will be ready

BY SCOTT MILLER | APRIL 20, 2009 7:30 AM

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Before the April 18 spring scrimmage, linebacker A.J. Edds didn’t look like a player recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.

Instead of standing on the sidelines like some of his injured defenders, the senior-to-be was busy shagging punts and throwing them back, with his non-injured right arm, 40 yards to junior punter Ryan Donahue.

Edds’ left shoulder required off-season surgery, much like the injuries to sophomore-to-be Tyler Sash and junior-to-be Brett Greenwood. These players tack onto a long list of marquee Hawkeye players — Tony Moeaki (foot), Jewel Hampton (hamstring), Jeff Brinson (ankle), Cody Hundertmark (shoulder), and Andy Kuempel (shoulder) — who find themselves on the sidelines right now.

In Edds’ case, he said he’s nearly back to full strength, and he could have practiced in “another week or two.” The Greenwood, Ind., native said that rehabbing with Sash and Greenwood in the off-season helped his progress.

“We all stayed pretty much together the whole time as far as how quick we got back, but it was kind of nice having those guys, especially defensive guys,” Edds said. “You don’t want anybody to get hurt, but it was nice to have some guys to at least be kind of going through it with.”

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Hampton, the sophomore-to-be running back pegged as Shonn Greene’s successor, tweaked his hamstring during spring practice and did not participate in the April 18 scrimmage.

“He took a pretty good shot [April 11] in a scrimmage, and he worked [April 17] and [April 18] in non-tackling things, but we didn’t want to let him get tackled [during the scrimmage],” head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “But the good news is that he’s on the comeback trail.”

Ferentz also said Hampton’s potential backup, freshman Jeff Brinson, should be healthy soon after an apparent ankle injury suffered during the scrimmage: “No injury is good news, but at least he’ll be fine here in a week or so.”

Moeaki, however, won’t be as lucky. The senior-to-be tight end, who has been hampered by a myriad of injuries throughout his Hawkeye career, missed the entire spring with a broken foot.

“During the whole season, it bothered me, but I didn’t really know that it was still … not healed,” said Moeaki, who was wearing a protective boot on April 18. “I guess I’m glad we took care of it before the season got here. I’m not worried about it at all. It’s not a ligament. It’s not a torn ACL. I didn’t break my neck or anything, so I’ll be ready to go.”

One player who did get on the field April 18 was senior offensive linemen Dace Richardson. After suffering a slew of knee injuries, he made it through the spring unscathed.

“It felt really good just to be out here practicing,” he said. “A year ago, I was just out here watching. I told myself I wanted to make it through spring ball and make it through it healthy and doing positive things. I did that, and now I just got to push through the next three weeks and then the summertime, getting in shape and just progressing forward.”

Ferentz and Edds both mentioned that they had doubts about Richardson’s shot of coming back from another knee injury.

“That’s probably one of the best stories, if not the best story, of the spring, just in that I don’t think any of us would’ve predicted with confidence that this could happen,” Ferentz said. “Most importantly, he’s been out here every practice and he’s got a smile on his face.

“I’m just really happy for him.”

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