COLUMBIA — Jerrell Jackson says he is ready to go.
The junior wide receiver broke a bone in his wrist only two weeks ago, but on Wednesday, Jackson was catching passes at Missouri football practice.
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Jackson, who broke the scaphoid bone in his left wrist, was initially expected to be out of the Tigers' starting lineup for six weeks. He had surgery Aug. 16 to insert a screw to hold together the bone. But besides the swelling and soreness from the surgery, Jackson says he feels fine.
"It's getting better day-by-day," Jackson said. "I still have the cast on to keep it safe, but I'm catching passes, so that shows that it's getting a lot better."
If Jackson was allowed to make the timetable for his return, he would be in the starting lineup when the Tigers take on Illinois on Sept. 4 in St. Louis. But Jackson is not a doctor, and even though he has researched his injury on WebMD, he can't make the decision when to return. And while doctors moved up his return, it's still not likely that Jackson will play against Illinois.
"I wanna be out there," Jackson said. "But I'm not really sure about the Illinois game. That would be pushing it. The coaches are going to make the right choice and know when they should play me, and they know that it would be a risk to play me against Illinois."
After the season opener, Missouri's schedule softens. The Tigers play against sub-division McNeese State and San Diego State, which finished the 2009 season with a 4-8 record.
Jackson said he could return against McNeese State, but if he were to play, he would probably wear a cast for the game. With the Tigers' depth at wide receiver, having Jackson play would likely be inconsequential to the final scoreline.
The best bet for Jackson's return is against San Diego State on Sept. 18. That would give Jackson an opportunity to adjust to the speed of a live game before Big 12 Conference play starts two weeks later. The Tigers have a week off from games after the San Diego State game — even more time for Jackson to heal.
"I can't wait for Big 12, because that's when I'm going to be back for sure," Jackson said. "I'll get out there and it will be like nothing ever happened."