Home > Illinois football > After injury, Illini Supo Sanni looked to MSU’s Lucas as inspiration

After injury, Illini Supo Sanni looked to MSU’s Lucas as inspiration

CHAMPAIGN – When Supo Sanni ruptured the Achilles tendon in his right foot during an August practice, the Illinois safety didn’t find many successful recovery stories from other athletes.

Illini coach Ron Zook had never dealt with the injury, which more often occurs in middle-aged to older men than in top-notch collegiate athletes. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa also suffered the injury last November.

But Sanni closely watched Michigan State point guard Kalin Lucas, who ruptured the Achilles in his left foot in March 2010, during his senior season. The Illini cheered on the Spartan senior point guard as Lucas played in all 34 MSU games, averaging 17 points per game and earning second team All-Big Ten honors.

“Every time I see Lucas drive to the basket or jump or do something crazy, it gives me hope,” Sanni said. “So I know I can recover from it

“I was definitely rooting for Kalin.”

After being limited to individual drills through Illinois’ first two spring practices, Sanni – a 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior – participated in team drills during a full-padded practice at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

“They kind of want to bring him along slowly, but he’s a big body and he’s a pretty lookin’ thing,” Zook said. “I think he’s probably a bit ahead of schedule of where they thought he might be.”

Sanni received a medical redshirt waiver after missing the entire 2010 season and has two years of eligibility remaining. Sanni said patience has been th toughest part of the injury.

“They got me on a time slot where they want to take precaution, they don’t want to rush me and have me ready for the fall,” Sanni said. “Nick Ritchie, our head trainer, he does a good job of coming and talk to me because sometimes I try to slip one in and get another rep.”

Sanni said he feels “real good” in the seventh month of what trainers expect to be an eight- to 12-month recovery. pretty

 “It feels so good just getting back with my teammates,” Sanni said, “my family.”

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