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ILB Tufts Back at Full Stength

Nov 21, 2002

BOULDER - University of Colorado starting inside linebacker Sean Tufts, who has been slowed by a high ankle sprain for the majority of the season, practiced at full strength Thursday, head coach Gary Barnett said.

Tufts, who had missed CU's last six games after suffering the severe injury in the second half of the Kansas State game on Oct. 5, practiced at top speed during the Buffs' afternoon full-pads session.

"It feels really good," Tufts said after practice. "I have been working hard to get it back in good shape, and right now I feel very comfortable."

Tufts, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Colorado native (Englewood), had tried to come back three weeks ago against Oklahoma, however he re-injured his ankle in pre-game drills.

Tufts said he could have probably played against Iowa State last week, when the Buffs captured the Big 12 North Division title, however he and the coaches "did not want to rush things to quickly again."

Through five games, Tufts has racked up 20 tackles (13 solo), adding one tackle for loss and two forced fumbles. Last season, he started every game but one for the Buffs, and went on to earn all-Big 12 honorable mention honors, finishing the year with 57 total tackles, including three for loss.

Other Injuries: Barnet also said Thursday that starting split guard Marwan Hage, who has been tending to a sore knee lately, practiced for the majority of the day, yet was held out of some action.

Hage, a junior who leads the Buffs in knockdown blocks this year with 38, sprained the knee against Missouri two weeks ago, yet finished the game and also played last weekend against Iowa State.