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August 19, 2011The playing surface inside the Dickey Dome had over 100 fully dressed out Arizona State players on it Thursday afternoon, none of whom were the center of attention.
Sophomore running back Deantre Lewis, having returned for the first day of classes after being shot in February, quietly conditioned early in the session under the watchful eye of running backs coach Bryce Erickson, and later head athletic trainer Bill Martin.
It was clearly the focal point of the day, with Lewis letting a half dozen or so media members know following the workout that although he's not sure if he'll be ready for the season opener on Sept. 1, he has no plans to redshirt.
"I feel good," Lewis said of his injured hamstring following the session, which included his participation for no longer than 30 minutes of solitary action. "I feel 85-90 percent (of normal). The 10 percent is my stamina right now, that's the only thing I feel like I'm missing right now. Other than that we'll just take it day by day and I'll be back very soon."
Lewis, who finished second on the team with 539 rushing yards last season as a true freshman, said he thinks he'll be ready to practice in pads in another week or so.
"The strength and mobility is good right now," Lewis said. "It took a while for it to kick in. It felt like my muscles weren't reacting to what I wanted to do but everything's fine now."
The injury was initially not fully clear, as the wound from the random shooting appeared superficial, with the bullet resting just under the surface of his skin according to several reports. Only later, when Lewis' hamstring didn't work normally was it realized that a nerve had been grazed.
"I'd say it's been like hell, me doing all this," he said. "I never thought I'd have to train my body all over again because it's always been given to me."
ASU coach Dennis Erickson said Lewis will continue to be observed by doctors and training staff, and that he has a chance to play this season, though it remain to be seen what will happen.
"I just don't have an answer for you because I just don't know," Erickson said. "He's here that's good enough for me right now."