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USF DT could return by start of season

Cory Grissom, Ryne Giddins, Austin Trainor AP

South Florida was hit with some rather punishing news last month when veteran defensive tackle Cory Grissom went down with a fractured right fibula during practice.

Speaking at Big East meetings yesterday, however, coach Skip Holtz said Grissom (pictured, No. 46) is on track to return by the start of the season. Here’s what he told ESPN.com’s Andrea Adelson.

“He’s coming along well. The swelling is going down, and he’s able to get on the bike and do some exercise things. One of the concerns was his weight that when he comes out of this he’s not 340 pounds and now it takes us a month to get back down to playing weight because of how much he would be limited with his exercise with the injury to the ankle. But he’s doing a great job keeping his weight down, he’s able to get on the weight and do some cardio things to keep his weight down. To this point, there have been no setbacks.

“We’re going to have to be careful because we’re not going to be able to take him from 0 to 60 Aug. 1. We’re going to have to slowly get him back in. Maybe we’ll take him through individual work for a week and no team stuff. Then the second week of camp, maybe we’ll let him do some 1-on-1s. Maybe the third week, he can get into inside drills or half line and hopefully when we get into our season, we’ll have been able to gradually get him back into it. “He may get into it and at one point it, may start to swell and he may have soreness and we’ll have to pull back. Then you go a little slower with it.

We’re going to have to see. It’s not the bone we’re worried about. It’s the ligaments and making sure that the ligaments come back strong enough and healthy enough and we don’t push him too early.”

Holtz has a point that you don’t want to push Grissom back before he’s ready, but the only way he’s going to be able to evaluate the recovery is during fall camp. Holtz should have a much better idea about Grissom’s availability in a few months. Having him back would be a big boost for the Bulls’ defensive front seven.

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