Notebook: Harvin's heel injury affecting knee

Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 12:29 a.m.

Sophomore receiver Percy Harvin's heel injury could be more significant than first thought, UF coach Urban Meyer said after Monday's practice.

Harvin has been sidelined for much of the spring after he re-aggravated a heel injury that Meyer said has been bothering him since high school. While Meyer said the injury should not be an issue this fall, he is unsure of the treatment Harvin will need to go through until then.

“It's a heel injury and it's gone up into his knee,” Meyer said. “We had a specialist from North Carolina and two guys, a foot specialist from here, and also (head team physician) Dr. Pete (Indelicato). We're coming up with a plan and should have it in the next couple days.”

Harvin was bothered last season by what was thought to be tendonitis in his heel that spread to his knee. Meyer said the injury is not tendonitis, but is a bone issue that could be much more severe.

“It comes from overuse and obviously he's one of those quick-twitch guys and can plant his leg in the ground,” Meyer said. “When you show the MRI, you can see the white where there's trauma to the heel. Now he's got trouble just pushing off with his knee because of the pain. He's trying to compensate for his heel. Now he's having knee and hip issues, which he's had.”

Meyer didn't rule out the possibility of Harvin having to undergo surgery, but he did rule out Harvin losing touches in the backfield because of the injury. With Harvin being arguably the most dynamic player for UF and with the issues at running back, Meyer wants to continue giving him a healthy supply of carries this fall.

“Percy plays tailback,” he said. “They say, 'Well, we run receiver runs.' No, he's a tailback playing tailback. In the final game of the season he ran for I think 175 (yards). Against FSU he ran for 180. And then Vanderbilt he ran for 150, I think. Those are great running back stats and that's what he's playing at those times at running back.”

Harvin was second on the team with 764 rushing yards off of 83 carries and had six touchdowns last season. He also led the team with 59 catches for 858 yards and had four touchdowns.

Depth issues at linebacker

Because a injuries to freshman John Jones (ankle) and redshirt freshman A.J. Jones, the number of linebackers to see the field this spring has been limited.

Meyer even moved freshman Jerimy Finch back to linebacker from safety this spring to help the depth, but Meyer admits his progress is not moving as fast as it should.

Freshman Brendan Beal (shoulder) missed practice Monday and has struggled at times to pick up the defense.

However, Meyer is happy with the improvement of freshmen Brandon Hicks and Lorenzo Edwards. He said the two are competing for solid playing time at the linebacker spots and have filled in nicely due to the injuries.

“We're getting a little bit of depth,” Meyer said. “We got three guys, four guys right now that I think can play and some of those other guys I hope step up.”

Jackson added to football staff

Former Gators running back Terry Jackson was made part of UF's staff Monday, according to a press release from the University Athletic Association.

Jackson, who was a member of UF's 1996 National Championship team, was named Director of Player and Community Relations.

"Terry is a great addition to our football staff,” Meyer said in the release. “He is someone who is very committed and loyal to The Gator Nation and a great ambassador for our football program. He will be a tremendous mentor, leader and role model for our players. He has excelled at every endeavor - from serving as Student Body Vice- President and playing on the 1996 National Championship to his career in the NFL. He is deeply rooted in the local community and we are excited to have him join our staff.”

A native of Gainesville, Jackson finished his career at UF with 321 career carries for 1,794 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also recorded 59 receptions for 645 yards and four touchdowns.

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