Petrino says Mallett lucky on timing of injury

Even though Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino joked Friday that he’s ready for Ryan Mallett to quit breaking bones, Petrino said the fact that the injury occurred now was probably a blessing in disguise.

As it turns out, the broken bone Mallett suffered in his left foot during conditioning drills Wednesday was probably more of a stress-related issue. Petrino said Mallett was bothered by pain and soreness in that same spot of his left foot during the season last year.

“It was more of stress buildup, and I remember him having some problems last season right around that same spot where he broke it,” Petrino said. “We’re lucky it happened when it did. If we get into August and it happens, you’ve got problems then.”

Petrino expects Mallett back well before the three- to four-month recovery period that was laid out by the Arkansas medical staff.

“He won’t be out there for the 15 practices in the spring, but he’ll be in every meeting,” Petrino said. “He’ll still get a lot out of this spring. The hard thing for him will be not practicing, because he loves to practice."

Petrino said this is the third time Mallett has had some type of injury. He injured the ring finger on his throwing hand last June during a weight room accident. And during spring practice in 2008, Mallett dislocated the thumb on his throwing hand.

“They say everything happens in three’s. That means he’s done getting injured,” Petrino quipped.