MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– West Virginia University’s top rusher Wendell Smallwood has had a nagging injury over the last few weeks.
On Monday afternoon, the running back says he will be ready to go when the Mountaineers travel to Fort Worth to take on TCU.
“I am feeling good, ” Smallwood said. “I had my first practice yesterday since probably two weeks ago. So it felt good to be out there running and being back trying to get in game shape.
But is he 100 percent?
“I think I’m 100 percent,” Smallwood said with a smile. “That is a pretty honest.”
“He practiced yesterday for the first time full speed in awhile,” running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider said. “So it was good to see him out there, not just running but running routes, catching balls and being utilized all over the field again.”
Smallwood suffered an ankle injury early in the game on Nov. 3 against Oklahoma. The junior back has gritted his teeth and played through the pain ever since.
“It was just hard to run on,” Smallwood said. “It was easy to walk on, but just running, trying to be explosive and push off, it was bad.”
Smallwood credits adrenaline and the fast pace of the game for allowing him to play through the pain.
“I think it was adrenaline definitely, just not thinking about it, and just going out there and running and not really focusing on being hurt,” he said.
Against Baylor, Smallwood had a 52-yard rush that he probably would have found the end zone if he was healthy.
“I know it would have been a touchdown,” Smallwood said smiling when asked about the run 10 days ago.
“I think Wendell has been playing good but how good can he be if he is healthy?” Seider said.
Smallwood is the Mountaineers leading rusher with 678 yards on 101 carries with five touchdowns. He averages 6.7 yards, and three of those games he was injured.
“It just makes me think I can do much better,” he said. “Just doing that and having numbers like that and not being healthy and not being able to play how I want to play. So I think it’s going to look much better and play much better being a step ahead than I was two weeks ago.”
The Mountaineers will see if a healthy Smallwood can help them shock No. 5 TCU later this week.