FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Jared Collins may be slight in stature at 5-foot-11, 173 pounds. But he isn’t lacking in toughness.
Arkansas’ senior cornerback, who is entering his third season as a starter, broke a bone just below his ring finger on his right hand during practice last week and didn’t miss a beat.
“I actually … I didn’t know it was broken,” Collins said. “So I just went back out there. The pain was … I could handle it. So I just continued to play with it.”
Coach Bret Bielema said last week that Collins only missed a few plays in practice as a result of the injury and called him one of the “most steady performers” on the team.
Collins is now wearing a custom-fit removable cast during practice. He has been a full participant in every practice since the injury, including the Razorbacks’ scrimmage last Saturday.
“There’s been no drop-off in him,” defensive backs coach Paul Rhoads said. “He hasn’t missed a rep, hasn’t missed a practice and he’s been coached like nothing is the matter. And nothing is the matter.”
As for how the injury happened, Collins is unsure. He suspects he hit his hand on a teammate’s helmet.
What is certain is how to handle the injury. Just last season Collins suffered a similar break on the same hand below a different finger. So he’s used to wearing the cast, which he says is similar to the one he wore for several weeks last season.
“It’s kinda hard taking on blocks, but that’s pretty much it,” Collins said. “Kinda hard catching also, but other than that, that’s pretty much it.”