South Carolina has welcomed back a familiar face to the offensive line as the Capital One Bowl draws near.
Senior tackle Kyle Nunn is back practicing after suffering a serious back injury and having a blood clot removed from his leg. Nunn started the first four games of the season at left tackle for the Gamecocks, but suffered his back injury in Week 3 against Navy. His final game came against Vanderbilt a week later.
Nunn later underwent surgery to remove the blood clot, putting his chances of returning for any part of the 2011 season in even more doubt.
It appeared as if Nunn was going to apply for a sixth year of eligibility, but now, Nunn could be ending the season playing in his South Carolina uniform.
"My first couple days (of practice) were kind of shaky, but I’m back now," Nunn said Thursday. "The back injury caused my leg not to work as it was supposed to because it was pinching on the nerve. It’s really scary when you wake up and can’t feel your leg. As soon as the surgery was over, all the feeling came back and everything was back. It was good.”
Nunn, who has been practicing at left tackle, is trying to play against Nebraska Monday, but if he does, he won't be eligible for a medical hardship waiver that would grant him another year.
“I feel really good about myself right now," he said.
South Carolina's line is much better with Nunn out there, so his return would certainly boost the Gamecocks' offense. If he were able to play left tackle, Rokevious Watkins could move back to right tackle, where he started the first five games of the season.
Having Watkins on the right side would provide the line with a little more stability. Freshmen Cody Gibson and Mike Matulis have switched off at right tackle since Watkins moved to left tackle.