Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said football player Dont’a Hightower suffered a minor hand fracture. Hightower had surgery to correct the issue, Saban said at his Thursday afternoon press conference.
Saban said the injury “was not even as bad as Julio’s hand,” and Hightower was not aware when or how he injured it.
Alabama’s star linebacker Hightower is expected to return to practice as early as tomorrow (Friday).
Hightower has done a good job during the offseason prep work, according to Saban. Hightower recovered from his knee injury in the 2009 season, but Saban said some hangover from the injury lasted into the 2010 season. This was both physical and mental.
“I think last year he didn’t feel one hundred percent,” Saban said. “I think he worried psychologically about the injury that he had and would he get injured again. And I think that is all behind him. I really started to see the last two or three games of the year (in 2010) where he was looking a little bit more like Dont’a of old and certainly in the bowl game. He has done a great job in the offseason. His body fat is way down and his muscle mass is way up. He has worked hard to get quicker and faster. He is more explosive in pass rush.”
In other football practice news, Alabama’s William Vlachos was sick today and missed Thursday’s football practice.
Undra Billingsley “has not recovered” and is still out, according to Alabama’s football coach.
Ryan Kelly remains day-to-day. Saban said this is because of the program’s cautious response to concussions.
Alabama will practice again Friday with two sessions and then Saturday’s scrimmage will be a test of consistency for Alabama players—an important point of emphasis for Alabama’s Nick Saban.