The timing of the Jones fracture in the left foot of Texas Longhorns quarterback David Ash was hardly ideal, as there's never a good time for the prospective starter to miss practice during the spring, especially the spring game as well, one of the few opportunities to have truly live repetitions.
But at the same time, had the injury occurred earlier in the spring, Ash would have missed more critical installation of the new offense run by offensive coordinator Joe Wickline and play caller/quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson. If the injury had happened during the summer, it could have imperiled part of fall camp or even part of the season.
One of the questions is just when the injury actually happened and Watson wasn't sure last week when he met with the media.
"I look at it like this for David -- because we don't know when it really happened, those fractures like that are kind of weird and just pop up," the former Louisville offensive coordinator said. "He finished practice the day it happened and he was going full speed and I didn't think anything was wrong with him until I saw him in the training room and he was saying he was going to go get an x-ray."
The hope is that Ash caught it quickly and hadn't been trying to battle through the pain for some time, as he did with the rib injury he suffered against Iowa State that rendered him ineffective for the TCU game in 2012. If it was treated quickly, it should increase the odds that the Belton product is able to recover without suffering from any complications.
Watson doesn't believe that the injury will represent a significant setback for Ash, even though he did miss some practice time, the spring game, and will miss some summer conditioning.
"It was a setback for him but it is not a big one because he got the majority of our install done," Watson said. "Thursday was the first time because of the injury he missed a scrimmage and he missed this week but very little went in, very little."
"He got all the situational football, he got the base offense, he got the tempo offense at least the beginning and is not going to be any worse off than anybody else. The only thing he missed was one other install that we did, which really plays off things we are already doing so it is not that big of a setback for him."
Again, had the injury happened earlier in the spring, Ash would have missed significant portions of installation, putting him behind. instead, he's basically where the entire team is at this point. And being around for the installation and actually understanding it are two different things.
Watson believes that the work ethic demonstrated by Ash helped out his quarterback in that regard.
"Here is what I feel about it, David was beginning to get it. He has really worked hard in the offseason studying and I can't beat him out of my office, he is always there. He is like my chair in my office and every time I turn around he is in it. That's good because he has worked really hard at learning what we do and most importantly he is going to know how."
The diligent study time put in by Ash helped translate to success on the field.
"I want him to know why and he really started to catch on," Watson said. "He was doing really well and his last week and a half he was really playing at a high level. He showed us that we can win with him so he has done well."
After the spring game on Saturday, head coach Charlie Strong was asked to weigh in on Ash and where he was when he went down with his injury.
"Well what David was doing before his foot injury was just doing a great job just managing the offense and doing everything we asked him," Strong said.
Still, Ash isn't yet a finished product in the estimation of his head coach.
"The same time, he is a guy that has got to get better. Even though you look at it and you feel like he is getting much better but he can improve much better and that is what you want to see and not only from him but with everyone in the program. We can all get better."
Ash will have to make strides in the film room instead of on the practice field throwing to his receivers, but if he can get healthy for the start of fall camp, the good news is that the coaches won't have to start over again with him or re-install parts of the offense that he missed.