Brown Returns, Goes With No Contact
BOULDER-- University of Colorado tailback Chris Brown returned to practice Thursday afternoon for the first time since suffering a bruised sternum on Nov.16, as head coach Gary Barnett said the junior practiced without contact during the day.
Brown, who has been sidelined with the injury for CU's last two games, went through every timing and situational drill during the Buffs' afternoon session and according to Barnett just "worked on the initial stuff."
"He looked fine," Barnett stated. "We did not test him (with contact) at all, though."
"I am pretty much 100-percent right now," stated Brown, who finished the regular season as the nation's third leading rusher averaging 158.8 yards per game. "It felt good getting back out there with my teammates and to run around again."
When asked if he would play on Dec. 29, in the Alamo Bowl against Wisconsin, Brown responded, "There's no doubt."
Barnett said the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder could practice in contact drills as soon as next Tuesday, when the Buffs will don full pads for the first time while down in San Antonio.
A finalist for both the Doak Walker Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year, Brown racked up 1,744 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in 2002 on his way to being named a unanimous All-Big 12 selection and AFCA first-team All-American.
Netting 6.34 yards per attempt, he owned the best average per carry mark in the nation for any back averaging at least 22 attempts per game, while he led the Big 12 in rushing, scoring and all-purpose yards.
Now No. 4 on CU's all-time rushing list, the Big 12's Offensive Player of the Year has complied 2,690 yards over his two-year career and is also fourth in scoring with 204 points. In just 23 regular season games, he has scored 34 touchdowns. This year, his 1,744 yards stand second best in CU single-season history, trailing only Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam's 2,055 in 1994.
Injury update: Barnett said Thursday that cornerbacks Phil Jackson and Donald Strickland, both of whom are suffering from shoulder aliments, were held out of practice, while safety Clyde Surrell (shoulder) was limited to non-contact drills. Tailback Bobby Purify (ankle sprain) did not practice, as Barnett said the junior might return to action next week in San Antonio.