FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas running back Knile Davis was injured during the first series of the Razorbacks’ first preseason scrimmage Thursday afternoon at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Davis, a junior captain, appeared to injure his ankle or leg on the play and remained on the field for several minutes while being tended to by team trainers. He was eventually helped off the field and carted into the Broyles Center, where the team’s locker and training rooms are located.
The extent of the injury is unknown, though our sister publication Hawgs Illustrated reports Davis’ injury is “major” and the running back could miss “a significant portion of the season.”
Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee declined to answer questions about the injury, noting head coach Bobby Petrino was the only staff member able to do so, per team policies.
Multiple questions directed toward Razorbacks players about the injury were cut off by the school’s media relations department.
Davis has struggled with ankle injuries in the past. His senior year of high school was cut short because of a broken ankle, an injury he suffered again going through spring workouts with the Razorbacks as a freshman in 2009.
The Missouri City, Texas, native was the Southeastern Conference’s leading rusher last season, rushing for 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns after taking over as a starter midway through the year.
Arkansas coaches were disappointed with how the team responded after lightning delayed practice Wednesday. McGee said the team responded well to the delay caused by Davis’ injury.
“My point during that whole thing was to get everybody’s focus back in,” said quarterback Tyler Wilson said. “You maybe see some timidness for the next few plays, but you have got to get everybody honed back in and working the way we should work. I thought we did a good job and the energy after that happened was pretty good.”
Arkansas was already down a running back prior to Davis’ injury after Broderick Green tore his anterior cruciate ligament during spring practice. Redshirt junior Dennis Johnson, junior Ronnie Wingo and freshman Kody Walker received extensive work during Thursday’s scrimmage.
The workout was Arkansas’ eighth of the preseason but the first in which players were allowed to be tackled.
“It’s hard to tell how hard someone runs and how hard it is to tackle them until you go live,” McGee said. “I was really impressed with (Walker). He’s big, he’s nimble and has really big hips, so it’s hard to bring him down.
“He really understood what to do and didn’t make many errors.”
Walker finished the scrimmage with 15 carries for 66 yards. Johnson, an expected starter at running back before a season-ending injury last year, finished with 33 yards on 12 carries, while Wingo finished with 30 yards on six attempts.
Wilson had the most impressive scrimmage among the Razorbacks’ offensive players. The quarterback completed 16 of 20 passes for 233 yards and four touchdowns.
“We have the first few plays scripted and there were some mistakes, which were disappointing,” Wilson said. “From that point on, we looked pretty good. There were a couple of times where I thought the receivers would do a couple of different things and we ended up getting on the same page, and looked good.
“We’ll come back tomorrow and have it cleaned it up.”
Brandon Mitchell struggled in his time directing the offense. The redshirt sophomore completed 14 of 30 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown.
Jarius Wright led all receivers with five catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns, while Joe Adams added five catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns.