John Beck can barely make it to classes without help, but the lack of mobility won't stop him from playing football. The senior quarterback intends to start BYU's showdown Thursday with defending Mountain West champion Texas Christian in Forth Worth.
He's expected to be joined in the lineup by offensive lineman Jake Kuresa, cornerback Justin Robinson and safety Dustin Gabriel. All three starters were sidelined with injuries during last Saturday's game against Utah State.
Two sprained ankles suffered against Arizona four weeks ago finally caught up to Beck, who was forced to miss the USU game. Since the Boston College game 10 days ago, he's been walking in a soft cast on one leg.
Beck shed the cast during Monday's practice, a routine he plans to follow the next two days. After practice, he
rehabilitates the two ankle injuries on an underwater treadmill.
"From where they were two weeks ago to where they're at now, they feel a lot better," said Beck. "I'm hoping come game day, they'll be that much better."
Not known for running, Beck probably won't venture far from the pocket against the Horned Frogs. TCU's defense has allowed only 10 points in two games against Division I opponents.
In TCU's 12-3 win over Texas Tech, the Red Raiders didn't score a touchdown for only the second time in Mike Leach's seven years as head coach.
"Where I'm at right now, I'm definitely still limited in my mobility, being able to run," Beck said. "As you have an injured ankle, you kind of walk differently [and] move differently because of the injury. We've just got to try to get me back to running on my toes, because, for three weeks, I wasn't able to do anything on my toes. . . . Everything was flat-footed. I'm still moving around a little flat-footed out there."
Beck has a leg up on Kuresa and Robinson, neither of whom participated in drills Monday. They have knee injuries.
Kuresa is in the same situation for the second time this season. After suffering a similar injury in the first game, he sat out the following week of practice but played against Tulsa.
This week, he has only three days before the game. Kuresa said his knee feels much better compared to the same time frame after the prior injury.
"Injuries are part of the game, and you've got to hope that the ones you get aren't very severe," he said. "I think I've been lucky; I don't think this is very severe. It is painful; it was a very painful weekend."
For the first time in college, Kuresa started at center against the Aggies. The senior expects to move back to right tackle, with center Sete Aulai returning from a one-game suspension.
Robinson suffered a knee injury on a freak play. Safety Quinn Gooch rolled into him after getting smacked by a USU player after the whistle.
Robinson said his knee is stiff, but he will play.
Gabriel suffered a shoulder injury, which has bothered him this season. Secondary coach Jaime Hill said Gabriel will play as his shoulder allows.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall credits BYU's training staff for getting the injured Cougars ready to play.
"You'd like your very best team available for the defending conference champions," he said. "Being on the road in a short week, you'd like these healthy bodies and the best players you have available."