TUSCALOOSA | With a season opener against Michigan a little more than a week away, the University of Alabama coaching staff is hopeful that a few players nursing minor injuries can heal as quickly as possible as game-week practices approach.
Alabama's most experienced running back, Eddie Lacy, is among those. But UA coach Nick Saban indicated positive news where Lacy's knee and ankle sprains are concerned.
"Eddie has practiced a little the last two days. We'll try to continue to progress him," Saban said.
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Lacy sprained a knee and ankle Saturday in Alabama's second and final fall scrimmage. A bit more caution is being exercised with freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper, who has a foot injury.
"Amari Cooper, we'll probably be a little conservative with when we bring him back," Saban said. "Monday is sort of the target day right now."
Cooper, who has been among the most impressive freshmen in Alabama's incoming class of newcomers, has been in a black non-contact jersey and riding a stationary bike during individual drills in the last three practices.
Reserve center Ryan Kelly sustained a minor injury in the scrimmage, and Saban said he is hopeful Kelly will be practicing Monday as well. Kelly was in uniform for practice Thursday but only observed individual drills. Finally, cornerback Bradley Sylve fractured his hand Wednesday in practice and is wearing a cast.
"It's a similar situation to Julio (Jones, in 2010). T.J. (and) Don't'a had it. They all were able to come back and practice in a day," Saban said. "Depending on how Bradley feels, he'll be day to day, but should be able to go out there and play in a cast and try to get ready to play in the game."
The Senior Bowl's inaugural watch list included nine Alabama players: Offensive linemen Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack, defensive linemen Jesse Williams, Damion Square and Quinton Dial, linebacker Nico Johnson, safety Robert Lester, longsnapper Carson Tinker and tight end Michael Williams.
A total of 312 seniors were named to the watch list for the Senior Bowl, an annual all-star game in Mobile each January featuring top college seniors.
Woodall suspended by MLB
Former Alabama safety Justin Woodall has been suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games without pay for a positive drug test. Woodall, a left-handed pitcher who resumed his baseball career from high school after a football career at UA, had been playing with the Tampa Bay Rays' Class A affiliate, Bowling Green. Woodall, who was a starter on UA's 2009 national championship team, tested positive for methamphetamine and an amphetamine.
"I forgot about that. He's taking us to dinner. Okay, free meal. I didn't know that. I'll put that on my calendar." - Offensive guard Chance Warmack on quarterback AJ McCarron picking up an upcoming dinner tab for the offensive linemen.
Reach Chase Goodbread at email@example.com or at 205-722-0196.