August 14, 2013 12:20:56 AM
Matthew Stevens - [email protected]
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State University hasn't been a victim of serious injuries throughout the first weeks of fall camp.
The only possible season-ending setback was freshman tight end Gus Walley needing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow this week but the second-year player was likely to not see much playing time anyway.
"He's not a pitcher so he has a chance to still come back," MSU coach Dan Mullen said jokingly on Aug. 11. "We don't need his fastball to be great to be a tight end for us."
The spotlighted injury of fall camp has been at the tight end position but not Walley. Junior Malcolm Johnson suffered a undisclosed injury last week and Mullen said he wouldn't be available until at least when fall classes at MSU began, which is Aug. 19. Johnson has not been made available to the media since suffering the injury and didn't participate in the school's media day Tuesday at the Seal Family Football Complex.
"That's four wide receivers and three tight ends," Mullen said recapping the program's injury report. "It makes it tricky. There's not a lot of options out there."
Last season, Johnson suffered what the school identified as a undisclosed pectoral injury that held him out of the first five games of the season but the Tuscaloosa, Ala., native was still able to earn 10 catches for 171 yards.
Sophomore tight end Rufus Warren had a mild sprain ankle was not in a walking boot after practice Saturday and should be fully healthy by the Aug. 31 season opener against No. 14 Oklahoma State University in Houston.
MSU also has a trio of freshmen wide receivers dealing with nagging health concerns starting with Fred Brown's broken wrist but he has been participating with a cast on his arm. Fred Ross, expected to play in his first season on campus, is "day-to-day" with a pulled groin and Louisiana native Shelby Christy has been wearing a red, non-contact, jersey after aggravating a shoulder injury.
In the open practices, fans also saw offensive lineman Damien Robinson along with defensive lineman P.J. Jones and Denico Autry in the injury pit working with trainers.
"To me, we're much slower putting those guys back in because let's give them the chance to make sure they're 100 percent healthy because you know what they can do," Mullen said. "They're all doing individual so they can do other things of that nature."
n Prescott continuing to shake rust off after missing spring with toe injury: MSU's backup quarterback Dak Prescott is slowly becoming more comfortable with the offense again after missing a spring session thanks to offseason surgery on the big toe of his left foot.
Bulldogs starting quarterback Tyler Russell said Tuesday during the school's media day that Prescott is taking more practice reps with the first team offense everyday in fall camp.
However, Prescott's sudden reappearance as a available scholarship quarterback doesn't likely change the fact Russell is expected to take a majority, if not all, of the snaps in the season opener against Oklahoma State.
In his career Prescott is just 18 for 29 for 194 yards in 12 games with four touchdown passes. MSU offensive coordinator Les Koenning said this past weekend the playbook will have specific packages available for the 230-pound signal caller.
"We don't think about the playing time," Prescott said. "I said something the other day about being the backup quarterback. (Russell) said 'You're not the backup quarterback. You're the other quarterback. We're brothers, and it goes beyond the field."