- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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HOOVER, Ala. -- It sounds like Missouri quarterback James Franklin's shoulder is ahead of schedule.
Coach Gary Pinkel said during the first day of SEC media days on Tuesday that Franklin, who underwent shoulder surgery this spring, is finally throwing a real football. Until now, he was only throwing a Nerf football.
"James is doing well," Pinkel said. "We expect him to be a 100 percent (for the season opener).
"He's ahead of schedule."
One thing Pinkel said he won't do is hesitate to play Franklin in the opener against Louisiana Tech if he's healthy. While Franklin injured his throwing shoulder, Pinkel said that if the medical staff clears him he won't wait to put him on the field.
"The medical staff will make a decision on when he plays," Pinkel said. "Whenever they say he'll play he can play. We're not going to save guys. We're not doing that. We don't do that. When they're ready to play they'll play."
Wide receiver T.J. Moe said he expects Franklin to come back stronger because he's dealt with this injury before. As a freshman, Franklin first tore his labrum when a player walked into his arm while he was attempting to throw during two-a-days and recovered just fine.
Moe also said that while Franklin hasn't been able to do much physically, that hasn't kept him from getting involved in drills. Moe said Franklin was always calling out plays during spring practice and has been during 7-on-7s.
According to Moe, Franklin's football life hasn't been too boring.
"He doesn't have to sit out everything it's just he can't do bear crawls with us, so he'll sit that drill," Moe said. "He can't do bench press, but quarterbacks don't hardly do that anyway."
The only thing Moe said might be difficult for Franklin is trying to get more reps this spring. Moe knows Franklin will try to throw as much as he can during camp, and he'll have to learn to slow things down for his shoulder.
Josey's return still unlikely
Pinkel said that while running back Henry Josey's rehab for his knee is going well, the chances of him playing this fall are still pretty slim.
"He's doing really well," Pinkel said. "It's going to be a stretch (for him to return this fall), but we're not counting him out."
Josey suffered a devastating knee injury against Texas last year, after rushing for 1,168 yards.
Pinkel said Josey has had a "remarkable attitude" throughout the entire process and added Josey will do everything he can to come back, but Pinkel wants to make sure he's completely healthy before playing him.
"The most important thing is that we get him to 100 percent, so he can be the best he can be," Pinkel said. "He's got these three years to play, so hopefully we'll get two great years out of him."
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