Missouri’s backfield in question for 2012

Two of Missouri's top offensive players are questionable for some or all of the 2012 season.

Quarterback James Franklin and running back Henry Josey are both recovering from injuries — Josey suffered a major knee injury in November and Franklin injured his shoulder during spring practice in March — and coach Gary Pinkel was noncommittal on when either player would return to the field.

Franklin suffered a middle and inferior glenohumeral ligament sprain (shoulder sprain) while diving into a pile to retrieve a fumble during spring practice on March 13.

However, when surgeons opened him up, the injury was a little worse than originally thought. Franklin also had a labrum tear, which will add some time to his rehab.

"Unless something happens, we're certainly planning on him playing Day 1 in the fall," Missouri team trainer Rex Sharp told the Columbia Daily Tribune. "The plan is there for him to start throwing in 12 weeks. That puts us in July. We may be able to beat that, too, because we tend to accelerate things here a little bit."

Pinkel added he doesn't expect Franklin to miss any games, "but to say that can't happen, I can't say that. We feel that he can get ready to play. Bottom line, we'll have to wait and see what happens."

The news wasn't as encouraging for Josey who suffered a knee injury so severe against Texas on Nov. 12, that many wondered if he'd return at all. Josey tore the patellar tendon, meniscus and ACL, and had surgery on the tendon and meniscus shortly after the injury. However, as he's been healing, he hasn't yet had surgery on the ACL, which is usually at least a six-month recovery process. Pinkel said Josey should have that surgery in the next 2-3 weeks. Pinkel didn't want to rule Josey out for the 2012 season, but that it would "not be wise" to expect Mizzou's top running back on the field this fall.

Replacing Josey, who still finished the season as the nation's No. 12 rusher, won't be easy. Kendial Lawrence, who had 566 yards and five touchdowns a year ago, is the favorite to fill that role.

Replacing Franklin is a different problem. Corbin Berkstresser has been working with the first team throughout most of spring and, understandably, he's been shaky. Missouri's offense changes some without Josey, but without Franklin, the transition to the SEC will be a season to forget.

- - -
"Like" Dr. Saturday on Facebook for football conversations and stuff you won't see on the blog. And follow Dr. Saturday at its new home on Twitter: @YahooDrSaturday