After a number of injuries slowed the Colorado State football team for much of spring and fall practices, the Rams seem to be regaining their strength in time for the season opener.
No injury was more crucial than that of starting right tackle Mark Starr, who sustained a foot injury during fall practice that caused the senior to miss several weeks. Starr, who has been a starter throughout his career at CSU, says that the injury was a minor one.
â€œIt was all pretty precautionary,â€ said Starr, about the time he missed. â€œIt was just a bruise on my foot. Iâ€™m ready to play.â€
Starr has been back in pads for the past two weeks, and all signs point toward him participating in his fourth Rocky Mountain Showdown on Saturday.
Starrâ€™s health is good news for the Ramsâ€™ offensive line, a unit that has only two years of experience otherwise.
Running behind that line this season will be Leonard Mason, though the extent of his availability was somewhat of a mystery throughout training camp with an apparent foot injury. Mason, the Ramsâ€™ leading rusher a season ago, did not suit up throughout most of fall practice.
Despite Masonâ€™s lack of reps this offseason, coach Steve Fairchild believes he should be ready for action on game day.
â€œLeonard is good to go,â€ Fairchild said. â€œI donâ€™t know if heâ€™s in game-shape to go the whole game, but he will be available to us.â€
Yet another starter from last year suffered an injury when cornerback DeAngelo Wilkinson damaged his foot in April during spring football.
Wilkinson was seen wearing a red jersey during last weekâ€™s practice, which is used to signal players recovering from injury.
According to Wilkinson, he had the foot operated on in June and is back to full strength.
â€œThe team was just working me back real slow so that I could be ready for this first game,â€ Wilkinson said.
The Rams suffered a few injuries this summer that will cost players part or all of their seasons.
True freshman wide receiver Thomas Coffman suffered a MCL tear in August and will be forced to miss the entire season. Meanwhile, sophomore defensive end C.J. James will miss at least the first two weeks of action after suffering a knee injury on the day before training camp began.
â€œWeâ€™ll continue to rehab (C.J.),â€ Fairchild said. â€œHe should be back at some point this year.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Joel Hafnor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org._