Saban: ‘Way Too Early’ To Tell If Injured Sims Will Play This Season
Less than five months after tearing the ACL in his left knee during a spring practice in March, sophomore wide receiver Cam Sims made his return to the practice field Wednesday afternoon.
It may not, however, go much further than that.
Though Sims did not appear too limited by the injury that forced him into wearing a black, non-contact jersey and a large brace when running routes and catching passes from the quarterbacks, his coach, Nick Saban, isn't so sure yet that the sophomore will actually see any game action this season.
"He's got a ways to go," Saban said. "He's doing fine in his rehab. He's ahead of his rehab. He's not going to be playing probably any time soon. We'll kind of see how it goes, but it’s way too early to make any kind of call about that."
A usual torn ACL recovery timetable can last anywhere up to a year.
Nevertheless, at least one of Sims' teammates was amazed to see him back on the field so soon.
"Oh, it was awesome," junior defensive back Maurice Smith said. "I didn’t think he was going to come back that fast and then to see how he’s progressed from the spring until now, I mean, it’s amazing almost."
Because the start of classes at the school on Wednesday allowed the team to expand its 105-man fall camp roster, it's possible Sims could have returned sooner from injury if the rules were not in place.
The 6-foot-5, 209-pound Sims was one of the team's most frequently targeted wide receivers last season behind only Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones, all of whom are currently on an NFL roster. Sims was expected to be a frontrunner to take one of the three vacant spots voided by Cooper, White and Jones prior to the injury.
As a true freshman, the Monroe, Louisiana native caught seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown. Sims' 15-yard pass reception against Arkansas last season -- the first of his collegiate career -- went for a first down, helping set up the Crimson Tide's go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter of a 14-13 win.
Along with Sims, a few other injured players who had not been able to practice at least in part because of the fall camp roster limit were able to practice for the first time this fall.
Both offensive lineman Josh Casher and outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings wore black, non-contact jerseys in their fall debut. In the case of Jennings, a true freshman from Dadeville, it was his first-ever Alabama practice.
After the first day of fall camp on Aug. 6, Saban said Casher tore a pectoral muscle while lifting weights over the summer. The following week, on Aug. 12, Saban commented on Jennings saying the player had a "slipped disc" in his back that was discovered when he failed the team's physical upon arriving on campus during the summer. Both injuries required surgery.
Senior wide receiver Parker Barrineau, however, missed Wednesday's practice after recently cutting his toe in "an incident in the shower."
"He hit it on a door, the door fell on him or closed on him or something and actually required surgery to sew it back up," Saban said. "This is something that will probably take a week or so for him to recover from."
Quarterback Jake Coker, still the apparent frontrunner for Alabama's starting quarterback job, returned to participating in drills, two days after missing both of the team's two-a-day practices due to an apparent toe injury.
"Jake's toe (surgery) went very well," Saban said.