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Franklin could return soon for Mizzou

Missouri quarterback James Franklin could be back in the Tigers' lineup as soon as this coming Saturday.

Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said that the senior is close to being able to return for his first action since suffering a shoulder injury on Oct. 12 against Georgia.

"I think he's going to be very close next week," Pinkel said. "We think it's very possible he'll be ready."

Missouri travels to Kentucky on Saturday.

Franklin being back on the field would be a welcome sight for the Tigers (8-1, 4-1 SEC), who are in pursuit of the SEC's East Division championship. Missouri leads South Carolina (7-2, 5-2) and Georgia (5-3, 4-2) by a game each in the loss column in the conference standings.

Freshman quarterback Maty Mauk has been filling in at quarterback since Franklin's injury. Mauk came in to close out Missouri's 41-26 win over Georgia after the injury occurred and then led the Tigers to wins over Florida and Tennessee with a loss to South Carolina sandwiched in between. This season, Mauk is 45-of-92 passing for 748 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions and has made three starts in Franklin's place. In a 31-3 win over Tennessee on Saturday, Mauk threw for 163 yards and three scores and ran for 114 yards.

After the trip to Kentucky, Missouri will travel to Oxford, Miss., to play Ole Miss before the Tigers return home to host Texas A&M in the regular season finale.