Missouri senior captains Evan Boehm and Russell Hansbrough are listed as questionable for Saturday’s nonconference game at Arkansas State.
Asked if he expected Boehm or Hansbrough to be available for the game or to practice, Tigers coach Gary Pinkel would only say, “They’re both questionable. Trainers make those decisions, and we haven’t made those decisions yet.”
Boehm, a center, has started all 41 games of his Tigers career, and Hansbrough, a running back who led the team with 1,084 yards last season, both suffered sprained right ankles in a 34-3 win Saturday against Southeast Missouri.
Boehm suffered his injury when running back Ish Witter rolled up his right leg from behind. He returned and finished the first half but was pulled at halftime.
“If you would have asked me to go back out there and play … I would have done that for sure, but at the same time I know the doctors and (MU head athletic trainer) Rex (Sharp) are looking out for me and my best interest,” Boehm said.
He acknowledged that the starting streak is important to him and doesn’t expect it to end.
“I’m going to be here,” Boehm said. “I’m going to be in and there’s no stopping me.”
Hansbrough, who injured the ankle on a sideline tackle after a 20-yard run, also expects to play.
“I’m doing pretty good with it,” he said. “I’m doing treatment and stuff and getting better every day, so I should be playing.”
Redshirt freshman running back Trevon Walters also remains out after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL in the spring. He expects to return to practice in a few weeks.
Steward relishes return
Junior running back Morgan Steward played in a game for the first time since Missouri capped the 2013 season with a win against Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl, so there was some rust to knock off.
“It was a real mix of emotions,” Steward said. “I remember, when I walked out on the field, it just all the sudden hit like, ‘This is real. I’m about to actually play football again and get out on the field.’ There was a point where there was doubts on if that would even happen again.”
Steward, a Staley graduate, got blown up on a blitz pickup immediately after entering the game.
“That was my first play, and that was my wake-up call, like, ‘All right, it’s time to go,’” Steward said. “It was great to get out there and be able to contribute and experience that stuff, but next time I plan on blowing up whoever tries to come my way.”
Leftwich, Browning set to return
Senior wide receiver Wesley Leftwich, who missed the Southeast Missouri victory because of a knee sprain, is listed as the starting Z receiver.
That move dropped redshirt Keyon Dilosa to second string and shifted redshirt freshman DeSean Blair to the backup X receiver spot behind sophomore J’Mon Moore.
Senior Cortland Browning also is expected to return from a strained hamstring and is listed as the backup free safety behind senior Ian Simon.
Among other changes, sophomore Marcell Frazier and redshirt freshman Walter Brady are listed as co-starters at left defensive end with junior Josh Augusta and freshman Terry Beckner Jr. listed as co-starters at defensive tackle.
Finally, senior Tyler Hunt and Steward are co-third string at running back behind Hansbrough and Witter.
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