Sophomore kicker Maikon Bonani ran sprints during Monday’s practice for the first time since injuring his vertebra, said USF special team’s coach John Hendrick.
Bonani fell 35 feet while working on a ride at Busch Gardens in July. He cracked his 12th thoracic vertebra and he was hospitalized for five days.
Bonani returned to practice two weeks ago and has made considerable strides, Hendrick said.
“He needs to get back in shape and wake up the muscles a bit,” Hendrick said. “He kicked some today. He looks rusty, but he’ll get stronger and better and he took some nice kicks from some pretty good distances.”
Bonani, who was 15-for-21 in field goals last season, kicked the game-winner against Kansas last year. He was expected to be USF’s kicker heading into this season before the injury.
Mitchell, Wilson among several injured Bulls
USF’s bye week couldn’t have come at a better time, as several Bulls are nursing injuries.
The big concern is junior wide receiver Carlton Mitchell, who left Friday’s win against West Virginia with an ankle injury. Mitchell, who is the team’s leading receiver was on crutches at Monday’s practice with what USF coach Jim Leavitt said was a “sore ankle.”
Leavitt said Mitchell’s progress is “day-to-day.”
Senior linebacker Kion Wilson suffered a groin injury Friday, but Leavitt said he will be fine.
“I think his groin’s a little sore,” Leavitt said. “Could he play today? If he had to … probably, but it’d be hard. He needs rest.”
A knee injury leaves sophomore cornerback Tyson Butler doubtful for the Nov. 12 game against Rutgers, Leavitt said.
“I think he’ll be out,” Leavitt said.
Senior safety Nate Allen suffered a hip-pointer Friday but practiced Monday.
USF hosts Florida Southern in exhibition
In preparation for the upcoming season, the USF men’s basketball team hosts Florida Southern in an exhibition tonight at 7 in the Sun Dome.
It’s the only exhibition game until USF opens its regular season schedule Nov. 13 against Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Florida Southern went 29-7 and finished first in Division II’s Sunshine State Conference a year ago.
“They’re pretty good,” USF coach Stan Heath said. “It’ll be a good test for our team right out of the gate.”
Senior linebacker Kion Wilson was named Big East Defensive Player of the Week by the league for his performance against West Virginia.
Wilson had 12 tackles (2.5 for loss) and an interception.
Redshirt freshman quarterback B.J. Daniels, who had 336 yards of total offense and three passing touchdowns, made the Big East’s weekly honor roll.
Men’s soccer gets Marquette in round one
USF, which fell to a No. 3 seed in the Big East tournament thanks to its loss at Rutgers on Saturday and St. John’s win over Syracuse on Sunday, will host No. 6 seed Marquette on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the first round.
USF could have clinched a No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win against Rutgers or a St. John’s loss.
The Bulls tied Marquette 1-1 on Sept. 18 at the USF Soccer Stadium.
If USF wins Thursday, it will play at either Connecticut or Notre Dame on Sunday at an undetermined time.