LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas' football season is off to a
difficult start -- and the Razorbacks' first game is still a month
Darren McFadden, the dynamic running back who was the 2005 SEC
freshman of the year, had surgery Saturday morning for a dislocated
toe -- after a police report says he was involved in a fight outside
a Little Rock club. The Razorbacks said McFadden is doubtful for
the team's season opener against Southern California on Sept. 2.
"We are all disappointed that Darren won't be able to join us
for the start of fall camp," coach Houston Nutt said in a news
release. "I know that no one is more disappointed with what has
happened than Darren. While we are still gathering details about
how the injury came about, our first priority is to help him with
Players report for preseason camp Thursday, and practice starts
Saturday. Arkansas trainer Dean Weber said McFadden will not
practice for several weeks.
According to a police report, McFadden was involved in a
disturbance at 4:20 a.m. Saturday at Palace the Club, a private
club in Little Rock. When officers arrived, a fight was taking
place in the parking lot while a crowd watched. McFadden told
officers he didn't know the person he was fighting with, the report
Roy Millsap, the club's manager, wasn't there Friday night, but
he talked with security guards who were. Millsap told The Arkansas
Democrat-Gazette that McFadden was never inside the club before the
Millsap said McFadden was arguing with people outside, and
security guards "tried and tried to get [(McFadden] to leave and he
wouldn't do it. And he ended up getting into a fight with these
Security guards said another man tried to steal a car belonging
to either McFadden or a relative, but McFadden caught him.
"Darren was kicking and kicking at him and his shoe came off
and his foot hit the pavement," Millsap said.
The other man in the fight fled when police arrived, according
to a security guard.
Sgt. James Lesher of the Little Rock Police Department said that
while the fight was going on, someone stole the car McFadden's
stepbrother was driving.
"Apparently it was a mess," Lesher told The Associated Press.
"It looks like they had a crowd control problem as well during all
of this. And of course during the fight, they had left the car
running with the keys in it, and somebody jumped in and took off."
Lesher said the car was found later in the morning. He said
nobody was arrested, and although the investigation of the stolen
car continues, he doesn't expect McFadden to be charged in
connection with the fight.
"There probably will not be anything else with that," Lesher
The Razorbacks said McFadden dislocated a joint in his left big
toe and had surgery in Little Rock to repair the capsule
surrounding the joint. A small pin was also inserted into the joint
to stabilize it.
McFadden was named first-team all-SEC last year after rushing
for 1,113 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was the seventh freshman in
Southeastern Conference history to run for 1,000 yards.
While the Razorbacks' passing game struggled, McFadden provided
a big-play threat on the ground. The former Pulaski Oak Grove star
scored on 70-yard runs against both Alabama and Georgia.
And he did all that despite a small cartilage tear in his left
knee from the preseason. He had arthroscopic surgery shortly after
Arkansas' final game.
This year, McFadden was expected to be a major part of new
offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's plans. But if he's out for an
extended period of time, the Razorbacks have other running backs
they can turn to. Felix Jones rushed for 626 yards last year as a
freshman, and Peyton Hillis added 315.
Michael Smith, a 5-foot-7 redshirt freshman, will also compete
The club where McFadden was found was shut down in December of
2004 when a judge ordered it closed. Two people were killed there
in 2004, and police responded to over 30 crimes or other incidents
at the club that year.
It was allowed to open again the following January after the
owner promised to increase security and provide additional parking.