Fresno State had a rough week, losing senior wideout Aaron Peck for the season to a foot injury, strong safety Dalen Jones to a knee injury and dismissing inside linebacker Xavier Ulutu for violations of team rules and athletic department policy.
But it ended with a positive in regard to Jones, who started the final five games of the 2014 season and before he was injured in a non-contact drill had again been running with the No. 1 defense.
On Saturday, the junior from Woodland was on the berm at the north end of the practice field where injured players rehab and do conditioning work, and he was running and cutting and working at a pace that would suggest he could be back much sooner than first suggested.
The Bulldogs are, in fact, now thinking it could be two weeks, not six to 10.
He’s ready to train to try to get back and not miss a game. Realistically, he’s probably out a couple of more weeks.
Coach Tim DeRuyter on strong safety Dalen Jones’ return from a knee injury
“He told us from the jump that it doesn’t feel as bad as what we initially thought,” coach Tim DeRuyter said. “To see him up there was really encouraging. This guy has had a great offseason, really good spring, really good start of camp and was really devastated when he heard the news that it might be an ACL.
“He’s fired up. He’s ready to train to try to get back and not miss a game. Realistically, he’s probably out a couple of more weeks, but with the way he’s determined to get it done, it may not be that long.”
Jones, who has KO’d two quarterbacks in his career and is one of the more physical players in the Bulldogs’ secondary, did his rehab work with a brace on the knee. But he said he was not expecting it to feel as good as it does at this point with a sprain to the posterior cruciate ligament.
I don’t feel any pain or anything. (Saturday) was my first day really cutting and opening up my stride and running, and it felt really good.
Jones on his optimistic outlook
“I don’t think it’s that bad at all,” he said. “I don’t feel any pain or anything. (Saturday) was my first day really cutting and opening up my stride and running, and it felt really good. I’m just trying to get back in the swing of things, trying to get back on the field as soon as I can.”
DeRuyter is waiting to see how the knee responds to the rehab work, but so far the prognosis is promising.
“That’s always the tell-tale,” he said. “Is he going to not be stiff and swollen? If not, then possibly that second game. He’ll have been out about three weeks, so conditioning and knowledge-wise it may take him a week to get back going again, but if we can get him some time in that first game, I think that would be a big-time plus for us.”
If Jones can make it back onto the field under the revised time frame, the Bulldogs’ secondary could be whole again, if not for the Sept. 3 opener against Abilene Christian, then definitely before the start of Mountain West Conference play Sept. 26 at San Jose State.
Senior cornerback Charles Washington continues to progress in a return from two offseason surgeries to repair a core muscle injury. On Saturday, he was taking more team reps.
Redshirt freshman safety DeShawn Potts, who is coming back from a foot injury suffered during the spring, is expected to be cleared for contact when the Bulldogs return to the practice field Monday for the last of their three fall camp scrimmages.
And sophomore cornerback Malcolm Washington returned to full practice this week after missing a few days because of a strained groin.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
Kickoff is approaching
- Monday: Scrimmage No. 3 of fall camp
- Tuesday: Practice 22, classes start
- Sept. 3: Season opener vs. Abilene Christian at Bulldog Stadium
- Sept. 12: at No. 15 Mississippi in Oxford