J-Shun Harris's days in a blue non-contact jersey are nearly over.
Harris, a redshirt sophomore slot receiver, is nearly back at full health after a second ACL tear in as many years. The 5-foot-8 native of Fishers, Indiana, likely won't be available for Thursday's Spring Game but is on track to be ready for fall practice.
"Getting healthier," head coach Tom Allen said of Harris. "We've still not released him full, but he's out there during skelly. No live contact, but he's progressing. I'm pleased with his progress for sure. Obviously he's not 100 percent yet or he'd but out of the blue jersey, but he's getting closer."
Harris, who was ranked No. 13 overall in the state of Indiana coming out of high school, caught 18 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman in 2014. He seemed poised to build on that production as a sophomore until landing awkwardly in the first player practice of the summer.
An MRI revealed a torn ACL in his right knee that ultimately cost Harris the entire 2015 season. He was able to redshirt without losing a season.
Harris went through the rehab process and was cleared about one year later. Then, in an eerily similar scenario, Harris tore the ACL in his left knee during a 2016 fall practice.
The injury sent him back to square one without another redshirt to burn. He spent all of last season training once again to get back onto the field and is now nearly at the end of a second recovery.
"I'm just glad he's out there competing," receivers coach Grant Heard said. "I know he wants to get back, so he's working hard at doing that. I'm just glad to see him out there running around."
Given his history of injury, Indiana's medical staff isn't rushing Harris back into contact before he's definitively ready. He manages to go through most drills with his teammates but takes a back seat when it comes to exchanging hits.
But the important news for Harris is that he's getting there. This time, Indiana hopes it'll be the last recovery.
"He's bringing out the best in me because that's a guy that has a lot of talent in him," redshirt junior Luke Timian said. "He's been through a lot. You can just tell he has a chip on his shoulder because he wants to come back so bad. I definitely feel for the guy, so it's cool to see him come back with us."
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