Missouri coach Gary Pinkel offered no new insight into senior running back Russell Hansbrough’s status during Wednesday’s SEC teleconference.
He said Monday that Hansbrough, who suffered a sprained right ankle on his first carry of the season against Southeast Missouri, was probable for the Tigers’ game at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Kentucky.
Pinkel also said he’d have to see how Hansbrough practiced.
Hansbrough indicated Monday that he hadn’t run on the ankle since the first play of the third quarter at Arkansas State on Sept. 12 when he tried to give it a go on the ankle but was pulled from the game and sat out against Connecticut.
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Hansbrough was worried about moving laterally and said that would determine his availability against the Wildcats.
So, how’d Hansbrough do Tuesday at practice?
“I’m not going to comment other than my Monday press conference on any injuries at all,” Pinkel said.
Perhaps it’s best to call Hansbrough a game-time decision.
Pinkel was a bit more forthcoming about his young defensive line and the team’s success stockpiling talent in the trenches.
“We’ve been fortunate to have pretty good defensive linemen and kind of build that over the years,” Pinkel said. “It’s two-fold. One, it’s good recruiting. Two, it’s good player development — developing strength, speed, quickness. Three, I think (defensive line) coach (Craig) Kuligowski has built a really good reputation for developing defensive linemen.”
Pinkel said he believes sophomore defensive end Charles Harris and freshman defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. “are in the same conversation as some of them in the past,” including Sheldon Richardson, Kony Ealy, Michael Sam, Shane Ray and Markus Golden — players taken in the last three NFL Drafts.
He also believes other freshman defensive linemen — most notably end Nate Howard and tackle Josh Moore — have a chance to become excellent players.
“We really on three really good freshmen this year and we have another redshirt freshman in Walter Brady,” Pinkel said. “We’ve done a lot of really positive things on that front.”