Albeit with anticipation an accelerated time frame will hold up, Mizzou quarterback James Franklin is on trajectory to return from shoulder surgery when the team opens camp in August, team physician Pat Smith said Wednesday.
"It's obviously a rush to have this injury when he did in March and try to be ready for August and throw and all that, but at this point I'd say we're cautiously optimistic," Smith said. "His motion is coming along nicely, and so far, so good."
Franklin amassed 3,846 yards of total offense last season, fourth-best in Mizzou history and eclipsed only by Chase Daniel in 2008, 2007 and 2006.
He suffered the injury to his right shoulder March 13 in a scrum for a loose football and was operated on to mend a torn labrum March 23.
"Typically, if you operate on a throwing shoulder, many times you'll wait, especially in baseball, six months before you start to throw," Smith said. "But in football, it's a little different throwing mechanism, and so we think that we can maybe do this a little quicker and hope to have him ready."
Meanwhile, electrifying Mizzou tailback Henry Josey, who missed MU's final three-plus games with a devastating knee injury, will undergo an ACL repair Monday in what Smith hopes is the last phase of Josey's surgical reconstruction.
The timing suggests confirmation of what has long seemed evident: There is slim chance Josey could be ready to return this season from the injury he suffered Nov. 12 against Texas that Smith at the time characterized as "a tragic fluke — a one-in-a-million type of injury."
"I don't think (returning this fall) is very realistic … We're not really even talking about that right now," Smith said, adding that Josey's lifetime health is the more pertinent issue. "This was all about taking a very severe injury and just trying to get it right for him long-term."
Josey, who as a sophomore last season was 12th in the nation in rushing with 116.8 yards a game on a jaw-dropping average of 8.1 yards a carry, initially was operated on by Smith on Nov. 13 to repair his patellar tendon, meniscus, both cartilages and to repair and reconstruct his MCL.
The damage was so extensive, Smith said, that there wasn't exactly a playbook on how to proceed. The hope at the time was that Josey could be ready for ACL repair in perhaps three months. Smith performed arthroscopic surgery on Josey about five weeks ago.
"That was good, because we were able to determine that the one bad meniscus tear that he had — that I was concerned about and didn't know if it would ever heal — looked really good," he said, later adding, "So at this point, pretty pleased with how things have come out considering the severity of this injury."
Franklin's injury, Smith said, was "pretty significant." He remains several weeks from throwing as he concentrates on increasing strength and range of motion.
"Any time it's the throwing shoulder, you just don't know how people are going to come out," Smith said. "The scarring is what you worry about. You worry that it can lose some motion. He actually had a pretty significant tear of the labrum, so we were able to repair that and kind of stabilize the shoulder.
"Then the approach was to get him moving right away, get him moving early, to avoid scar tissue development. He's doing really well. So far. So I'm pretty positive that he'll be OK."
Corbin Berkstresser, who redshirted last fall as a freshman, ran the No. 1 offense in Franklin's wake and would be the presumptive first option if Franklin is unable to start the season.
The Tigers open Sept. 1 at home against Southeastern Louisiana and begin the Southeastern Conference era a week later when Georgia visits Faurot Field.