Razorbacks' Knile Davis Says Positive Outlook Helped Him Through Ankle Rehab

by Chris Bahn  on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011 9:45 pm  

Knile Davis was a fixture on the Arkansas sidelines this season. Davis was active with the team despite a broken ankle that kept him off the field. (Photo by Mark Wagner)

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Knile Davis’ rehab from a season-ending ankle injury went about like he expected. There were good days. There were rough ones.

“My main thing was trying to stay as positive as possible,” Davis said. “I came through it pretty good. I had some down days, but I came through it and I’m back.”

Davis, speaking on Bobby Petrino Live, didn’t expand on what he meant by “back,” but his rehab did progress to the point that he was practicing with the Razorbacks late in the year. Host Chuck Barrett made multiple references to Davis returning for spring practice.

Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino wasn’t around for last season when Davis ran for 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2010, but he had high praise for the 6-foot-2, 226-pound tailback. Petrino, who rejoined the staff after two years at Illinois, said Davis could be a focal point in the offense once again.

"We've got to make sure we keep him here ... He's got a whole bunch more touchdowns in him for the Razorbacks," Petrino said.

Davis wasn’t scoring touchdowns this season, but did score points with teammates for the way he handled his rehab. Not long after undergoing surgery Davis was back in the weight room. He traveled with the team on road trips and as a team captain was at midfield for pregame coin tosses before watching from the sidelines.

Arkansas welcomed Davis back to practice prior to the South Carolina game. While Davis wasn’t on the field he did play an important role.

“We even got inspired watching him run,” defensive end Jake Bequette said.

Though he wasn’t on the field, Davis got a good look at the Razorbacks throughout 2011. He said he admired the way teammates handled a challenging season to finish 10-2 and secure a spot in the Cotton Bowl. Arkansas sustained numerous injuries – including a broken ankle that sidelined Davis – and the Razorbacks had to deal with the death of redshirt freshman tight end Garrett Uekman entering the final week of the regular season.

No. 6 Arkansas faces No. 9 Kansas State on Jan. 6. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Cowboys Stadium.

“I’m very proud of this team,” Davis said. “We’ve been through a whole lot this year that was real unexpected.”

Difficulties began when Davis was injured in August on an inside zone run on the first day of full contact in fall camp. He had been named preseason all-SEC just weeks earlier and was even mentioned in some summer Heisman conversation.

Davis was asked about his leadership role leading into the spring. He said with so many veteran players gone it would be important to continue setting the tone for younger Razorbacks.

“I think it starts with getting the young guys ready," Davis said "I think the seniors this year did a real good job of setting the example of how to play football. It’s going to be a lot of long days in the film room, getting young guys ready to step up to the plate.”



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