There may not be three words in football that drive coaches crazier than “high ankle sprain.” Nobody is really certain what a high ankle sprain is or how severe of an injury it might be when it occurs. It could take a matter of weeks to heal or you could still be nursing the injury several months later.
Marshall Quarterback A.J. Graham suffered the aforementioned injury against Southern Miss on October 2, 2010 and on August 5, 2011, the first day of pre-season practice, Graham still wasn’t certain the ankle was back to normal.
“I give it a good 95 percent right now. I got to get some pads on it and see how it moves,” Graham said following the first day of drills.
When Graham injured his ankle last season it seemed he was beginning to grasp the offense. He was 10 of 12 passing for 95 yards against the Golden Eagles when he was hurt and sidelined for the rest of the year.
The ankle issues continued to plague Graham during spring drills when Doc Holliday was looking for one of his young returning signal callers to take control of the position. The ankle noticeably affected Graham’s athleticism, hampering his ability to run with the ball and took a toll on his delivery. Often Graham could be seen limping back to the huddle or the line of scrimmage, a sure sign the ankle was still bothering him. Since then, Graham has been working to get the ankle back to 100 percent.
“I spent a lot of time the weight room. We did a lot of agility stuff and I was in the training room doing a lot of ankle stretches getting my flexibility back in it,” Graham explained.
Graham says coming into preseason camp he has confidence pushing off the ankle and has no concerns about running with the football and make quick cuts to avoid defenders.
“I feel much better than I did in the spring.”