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Bobby Petrino says running back Knile Davis is "100 percent"

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

The good news for Arkansas on the Knile Davis front started in January, when the one-time All-SEC running back announced he would be staying in Fayetteville for his senior season. It got even better this week, as head coach Bobby Petrino declared Davis "100 percent and completely healed" from the August ankle injury that cost him the entire 2011 season.

led all SEC tailbackswith 1,322 rushing yards in 2010, good enough for second overall in the league behind Cam Newton; his eye-popping 6.48 yards per-carry average led all SEC ball-carriers with more than 100 attempts. So it's no surprise that Petrino is also planning on bringing Davis back slowly, telling the Harrison, Ark. chapter of the Razorback Club Davis may or may not see contact during the Hogs' spring camp.

“It's a decision we'll make of when is he ready mentally for it,” Petrino said, according to the Arkansas News. “You need to get out there and move around and be with bodies around you and make sure that mentally you're ready and focused for when you're going to get hit.

"So I don't know if we'll do that this spring or wait until next fall. We really haven't made a decision yet.”

If Davis's time in the 40-yard dash is any indication, the ankle is likely ready for contact now. According to Petrino, Davis ran a hand-timed 4.33 40, the fastest time recorded on the team this offseason. Considering that Davis has been known more for his power as a running back than his breakaway speed, that could bode very well for his chances of returning to all-conference form this fall.

Not surprisingly, Petrino was enthusiastic about the prospect.

“You certainly do have to run the ball,” Petrino said. “When you look at the difference between two years ago and this past season, running the ball for chunk plays and big yards is something we missed without Knile in there.”

Which is why we won't blame Petrino if he attempts to get through spring, at the minimum, with his oft-injured star still in one non-contact piece.

Arkansas opens its spring practice Wednesday. For the latest in our series of Spring Practice Primers -- which will, not coincidentally, feature an Arkansas entry Wednesday -- click here.

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