Ray Graham makes return at Pitt practice

The long-anticipated return of Ray Graham is in the books, as the Pitt running back made it through his first practice since tearing his ACL last September.

Graham wore a green non-contact jersey as the Panthers opened camp Monday, and said afterward that it felt great to be back out on the field with his teammates. But both he and coach Paul Chryst tempered their comments, making sure to note it was just one practice. Now the tough part begins -- seeing how Graham reacts and making sure to ease him along slowly.

"As the days go on, I’m going to get better and better," Graham said. "I felt stronger than I thought I would be. This is just the first day so I have to be smart and I want to participate every day. As of now, I plan on playing Sept. 1 against Youngstown State.”

Chryst said: "I thought he looked good out there, but certainly this is quite a process that he’s got to go through. He keeps progressing every day and it’s good to have him out there with us."

Graham got hurt against UConn last year and has worked since then to make it back onto the field. At the time he got hurt, he was one of the top rushers in the nation. Now that Chryst is installing a run-friendly offense, many have high expectations for Graham. Though he is less than a year removed from ACL surgery, Graham appears to be right on schedule but we will have to see how he progresses over the next several weeks.