November 3, 2010

White unsure whether he'll play

MADISON - James White has had minor knee injuries throughout his football playing days, but nothing that had the potential of keeping him out of a game.

He's also never really had to rendezvous with a knee brace.

"Trust me," White said. "This thing makes me feel crippled. But it's getting better so I'm not complaining."

In true election spirit, tabbing White as a shoe-in to play at Purdue is too close to call. While he's made improvement over the bye week, White is still hoping for the wonders of a couple more days of rest.

"It's a possibility," White said. "We'll just see how it goes as the week moves on. We'll just keep going into rehab and keep trying to get it better so I can go out there and help my team."

Since suffering the injury early in the game at Iowa White has endured the rehab process, one that has him doing such things as running in a swimming pool and band workouts with hopes of healing the injury at a more rapid pace.

"At first my leg was stiff as I don't know what," White said. "I didn't think I'd be back ever. I was on crutches for a couple of days and then I was fitted with the brace. I could walk fine with the brace. It's just been getting better.

"Going into rehab twice a day really helps."

As the team's second leading rusher behind John Clay, Wisconsin would like to get White's services back on the field. But his coach also knows it's smart to ease him back into game speed instead of just throwing him straight back into the fire.

"Our approach is to kind of ease him back into it," running backs coach John Settle said. "Today he only had about a dozen reps or so. Based on how his knee responds to that then maybe tomorrow (Wednesday) we'll up it and see how it goes. The thing I always believe about football sake is that you've got to play football. So if he can't do it in practice then there's nothing that will tell me he's going to do it on Saturday.

"I put him in game situations and I put him in against our ones. He'll get hit and he'll get bounced around. I just want to see how his body responds."

As previously mentioned, it's still to early to determine whether White will be able to play at Purdue this weekend. But should the freshman continue to improve at a rate similar to what he has since UW's bye week, chances look to be pretty good that he'll get some reps.

"He looked pretty good today," Settle said. "I'm leaving that decision up to James and the trainers. He showed today that he was stopping on a dime, cutting on a dime and to me he was back to his old self. With a few days left before we have to make a decision, I think he has a chance to play.

"I saw the burst and I saw everything I needed to see to say that if a guy could do it, James White would be the guy that could show up and play."

Other injury update:

Lance Kendricks, who was rolled up on during a special teams play at Iowa and suffered an ankle sprain, may also be able to play Saturday afternoon at Purdue.

"I'm feeling a little bit better," Kendricks said. "I did some drills today and got moving around pretty good, so hopefully I'll be back on Saturday. It's still a little early to say whether I'll play, but hopefully by Thursday I'll have a better idea." staff writer Jordan Schelling contributed to this report.

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