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Sophomore QB has missed last two games with knee injury
By Ian R. Rapoport
STARKVILLE — Omarr Conner couldn't travel to Nashville when Mississippi State played Vanderbilt. He was home nursing the sprained knee ligament he suffered at LSU.
So the quarterback tried to listen to his team's 31-13 loss to Vanderbilt on the radio.
"It hurt my feelings so bad, I had to turn it off," Conner said.
If everything goes as planned over the next two weeks, he won't need to turn on the radio on Oct. 23.
The sophomore from Noxubee County missed his second game when State lost 27-13 to UAB. But he will continue to work out during this bye week and is scheduled to return when Florida visits Mississippi State.
"(The training staff) says Omarr feels better than he's felt in a while," coach Sylvester Croom said. "We'll take it slow today, move along at his pace. Then we'll cut him loose next week."
There will be no contact this week, but the week before the Florida game, he should resume a normal routine, Croom said.
Even with a rough outing under the intense pressure from LSU's defensive front, Conner was having a solid year in his first under center since high school, even with his adjustment to the new West Coast Offense.
He was 50 of 90 passing for 509 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions, three of which came against the Tigers. Junior Kyle York started the last two games, going 30 of 66 passing for 272 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions.
As for Conner, being forced to sit out two weeks was driving him crazy.
"It was frustrating," Conner said. "Being at home with your friends on Friday night when you're not traveling with your teammates — and you're the starter? That ain't fun."
After two weeks of rehabbing his knee by bicycling and working out in the whirlpool, Conner was walking around Shira Fieldhouse earlier this week with a huge smile on his face. His knee doesn't hurt as much as it did a week ago.
"Not like the first couple days," Conner said. "I'm back."
Mississippi State (1-5, 0-3 SEC) lost both games that Conner missed.
"We didn't have him for two weeks," Croom said. "We think that might've made a difference in the ballgames."
|10-13-2004 07:13 PM