COLUMBIA — James Franklin says no to drugs. He doesn't drink alcohol, either.
He takes it a step further.
The junior Missouri quarterback won't even take aspirin. Franklin can hardly remember ever taking any medicine. He did say he has taken Claritin before, to relieve his allergy symptoms.
Franklin says he doesn't get sick often. He remembers just once in the past four or five years when he felt ill. It was last season when the Missouri football team played at Kansas State.
"I had 104.7 fever, or whatever. A real high fever. And I had canker sores in my mouth," Franklin said. "I lost like 12 pounds. I couldn't eat because they were all in my throat."
Even then, though, he did not turn to medicine, but only water, soup and sleep.
When Missouri played Arizona State this season, Franklin chose to sit out rather than take a shot to dull the pain of the inflamed bursa in his right (throwing) shoulder.
Franklin never really takes medicine. No painkillers or anything.
But now, Franklin claims he has been using a secret remedy to help the sprained MCL in his left knee heal quickly. After injuring the knee on a run in Missouri's game against Vanderbilt, Franklin expects to be 100 percent healthy by the end of this week.
Franklin calls the secret concoction "ligament juice," but refuses to reveal what it's made of. He fights off giggling when talking about it.
He first spoke of the secret drink Saturday after the Tigers' win.
"You know there's a lot of calcium in milk, you know, calcium for your bones," Franklin laughed. "So, why not ligament juice?"
Not only is Franklin withholding the details, the quarterback won't even share his ligament juice with his needy offensive line. Center Mitch Morse just returned from an MCL injury, too.
Maybe it's because the offensive line gave him a hard time about missing playing time. At the team's media day Monday, left tackle Elvis Fisher teased Franklin about the bright, neon yellow sweatshirt he was wearing.
"Hey James," Fisher whispered to Franklin, who was surrounded by reporters, "James, were you directing some traffic earlier?"
Fisher might be able to use some ligament juice as well. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel praised him for staying on the field and playing through pain. Fisher helped the offensive line open up holes Saturday for the Missouri running backs.
The Tigers rushed for 187 yards in the 33-10 victory over Kentucky, though it wasn't until Franklin replaced Corbin Berkstresser that Missouri was able to put the game away.
But Franklin was limited. He mostly handed the ball off and threw bubble screens.
"It was really just his presence," receiver T.J. Moe said. "Having your starter back in there is a big deal."
It will be a bigger deal when the starter is able to run all the plays in the playbook. In Saturday's win, he hadn't had enough ligament juice yet, so the play calling was limited. He feels like his knee is improving.
"I haven't ran on it yet (this week)," Franklin said. "I know that when I run, it will be sore after, but I'm confident it will get better."
When the Tigers travel to Gainesville, Fla., to play the Florida Gators at 11 a.m. Saturday in a game set to be televised on ESPN2, Franklin expects to be a full go.
"I know the guys are excited to go in the Swamp and mess with the Gators," Franklin said.
As for the ligament juice, is it really that big of a secret?
"Yes. It is," Franklin said. "Milk is involved, though."