Ole Miss defensive back Tony Conner’s rehab from a meniscus injury that kept him out most of 2015 is going as planned, according to coach Hugh Freeze.
Conner has been running in a pool, and the doctors expect him to start running straight ahead on flat ground sometime next week.
“We’ll see how the knee responds when he does,” Freeze said to reporters Thursday. “We’re hopeful that he’ll have a full recovery and be ready to go in the fall. We really need him. He and Issac Gross would be no question two leaders on the defensive side.”
Obviously, Conner is a huge piece to the Rebels’ defense. He fills the vital role of Huskie, which is a hybrid safety/linebacker position, in Ole Miss’ 4-2-5 defense.
The 6-foot, 215-pounder missed eight games in 2015 after sustaining the injury in Ole Miss’ upset at Alabama on Sept. 19. He came back against Arkansas on Nov. 7 and played for two weeks before shutting things down for the final two games of the season.
Conner only posted 17 tackles (3.4 tackles per game) and four tackles for a loss compared to 69 tackles (5.3 tackles per game), nine tackles for loss and a sack in 2014.
Aside from Conner, offensive linemen Robert Conyers (knee) and Rod Taylor (shoulder), as well as defensive end Fadol Brown (foot) will miss all of spring practice, as they battle back from offseason surgeries.
Defensive tackle Herbert Moore (knee) and wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow (ankle) will return to practice following Ole Miss’ spring break (March 14-18). Defensive tackle Issac Gross (neck), running back Eric Swinney (leg) and tight end Willie Hibbler (hand) are practicing but are limited right now.