A few weeks after Missouri’s spring practice came to a close, running back Henry Josey received the news he’d long been hoping for: after nearly a year and a half of rehabbing his injured knee, he had finally worked his way back to the top of the depth chart.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
“I was just honored just to be back in that position,” said Josey, who missed all of the 2012 season as he recovered from a serious knee injury. “I’m happy and I’m blessed to be back on the field…having a chance to be that guy and be that leader for my team is a great feeling.”
Josey, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound junior from Angleton, Texas, emerged as one of Missouri’s best players in 2011, when he was forced into full-time duty after a rash of injuries and responded by rushing for 1,168 yards and nine touchdowns in only 145 carries.
But just one day after he was chosen a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award, which is given to the nation’s best running back, Josey suffered a career-threatening knee injury against Texas that head athletic trainer Rex Sharp would later call “the most devastating” he had seen in years.
Since then, Josey has pushed himself through an arduous rehab process in hopes of becoming the player he once was. He entered spring practice third on the depth chart behind junior Marcus Murphy, one of the nation’s top return men, and sophomore Russell Hansbrough, who finished third on the team in rushing last season, but was still intent on earning his old job back.
“I was working my butt off,” Josey said. “I feel 110 (percent). No pain at all. Everything’s great, no problems at all. I haven’t taken a day off in anything and I haven’t lost any (strength) since I’ve started.”
Josey said the 4.4 time he ran in the 40-yard dash before spring practice — the last time he was tested — calmed any bubbling self-doubt about whether he had lost his trademark speed.
“I ran that and I was like ‘OK, I’m still fast,’ ” Josey said. “I’m not worried about it anymore.”
| Terez A. Paylor, firstname.lastname@example.org