For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancelation of sports across the world, Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman met with the media during a teleconference on Monday and provided updates on injured players.
The most high-profile player on the injury report is senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who didn’t throw during the last several weeks of winter conditioning due to a rib injury that he suffered during the middle of last season. The strength and conditioning staff also modified his workouts to include less heavy lifting after he aggravated the injury.
Last fall, Ehlinger didn’t miss any playing time as a result of the injury, but the decline of his play following the first four games provides some evidence that it did impact him on the field.
As part of his rehabilitation, Ehlinger had a Zoom meeting with a physician last week and is improving, but Herman said that a full recovery will be apparent when Ehlinger’s rib stops hurting.
Five other injured players are also on schedule with their recoveries — redshirt freshman running back Derrian Brown, redshirt freshman defensive end Peter Mpagi, sophomore linebacker Ayodele Adeoye, redshirt freshman linebacker Marcus Tillman, Jr., and junior safety BJ Foster.
Herman said none of those players would be available if the Horns played a game tomorrow, but none of them have suffered setbacks.
“We had a staff meeting this morning and our trainers tell me everybody is on track,” Herman said. “Nobody has hit a setback and they’re all doing everything they’re supposed to do.”
Tillman is the furthest along after suffering a knee injury against Oklahoma State more than six months ago. He made one tackle after playing mostly on special teams during his freshman season.
“Marcus is pretty advanced in his recovery, so he’s able to do a prescribed workout really without any supervision,” Herman said.
Brown has also been making progress — he redshirted and didn’t practice last season as he recovered from a stroke in early 2019. Back in December, Brown was cleared for physical activity and started doing modified workouts while going to speech therapy several times a week.
Foster and Adeoye both underwent offseason surgeries. Foster had a procedure on the shoulder that he injured last season, while Adeoye had surgery for a foot injury he suffered in January. Both players are expected back for summer workouts.
Mpagi’s future is the most uncertain — he was hospitalized twice last year due to a heart issue. He returned to Houston and began taking new medication for his condition, but did not enroll in classes for the spring as expected.