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NCAA Football Missouri TigersSEC Football

Henry Josey Returns From Injury, Hopes to Give Life to Missouri Ground Game

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri spring practice gets underway in two weeks on March 12 and the Tigers will be faced with a lot of questions during this time and hope to have some of them answered by the April 20 spring game, but the biggest question on my mind is the health of running back, Henry Josey.

If that name doesn’t ring a bell that’s because Josey hasn’t been on a football field since he suffered a brutal leg injury midway through the 2011 season vs. Texas that makes Marcus Lattimore’s shredded knee suffered this season look like a simple sprained knee.

Dr. Pat Smith was the surgeon that performed the operation on Josey to repair the torn ACL, MCL, meniscus and patellar tendon told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “It’s a tragic fluke, a one-in-a-million type of injury, and, unfortunately, to a guy who is so gifted with speed and mobility and agility.”

Josey had rushed for 1,149 yards, nine touchdowns and a staggering 8.5 yards per rush entering that fateful game vs. the Longhorns and looked like one of the premier running backs in the country. However, his destiny was sidetracked on that day and as a result of the surgeries and recovery process missed all of 2012.

I’m rooting for Josey to be able to step out onto the football field again and even if there’s a chance he isn’t quite the same explosive back he was before the injury, it will be great to see his determination, perseverance and commitment to his teammates get out on the field and battle with the rest of the Tigers.

The Tigers had their first losing season in the last seven years, and if head coach Gary Pinkel wants to avoid a second consecutive sub-500 mark he’d be wise to get the ball in Josey’s hands, but also judiciously. Mizzou definitely needs the 5-10, 190-pound back to line up in their backfield to be competitive in their second year in the SEC, but I hope Pinkel isn’t stubborn enough to force-feed the ball into Josey’s hands.

The health of Josey could be one of the more heart-warming stories in the 2013 season and if he flashes some of the form he did in 2011, the Tigers should be back to their winning ways.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is the host of “The Wake-up Call,” on Sportstownchicago.com airing Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.