Danny Molls isn't exactly sure when his injury occurred or when he'll be back in action, but the Toledo Rockets know it'll be a big boost to their defense when they get their top returning tackler back on the field.
Molls, a junior middle linebacker, spoke to the media for the first time Monday since suffering a stress fracture in his lower left leg. He's missed the last five games, but there's a chance he could be back for Saturday's Battle of I-75 against Bowling Green.
"Since I haven't practiced, I'd say I've got a 50-50 shot to play against BG. We're just going to have to see how this week goes and see what I can do," Molls said. "I'm not 100 percent healed, but it's a lot better than it was before, and it's progressively gotten better each week."
Molls wasn't wearing a protective boot on his leg and was walking without much of a limp on the sidelines last Saturday at the Glass Bowl while his teammates were rolling over Eastern Michigan -- a sign of just how close he is to rejoining the Rockets.
"We're just taking it day-by-day," Molls said. "I have to practice before I can play, and I haven't been cleared to do that yet. That's really my biggest goal right now is to get back to practice."
Molls registered 143 tackles and three interceptions last season and was expected to again be a cornerstone of the defense in 2011. He recorded five tackles in UT's season-opening victory over New Hampshire, and then less than a week later, he was suddenly ruled out to play against the Buckeyes because of what UT officials called a "lower body injury" at the time.
"It was just kind of a freak accident," Molls said. "In the first game against New Hampshire, I can't really pinpoint a play but just came up after the game real sore and hurting. Then I went through a few practices throughout the course of the week [before the game against Ohio State], and one day it just kind of gave out on me."
Since then, it's been a weekly balancing act of not wanting to rush Molls back into the lineup and risk losing him for the rest of the season versus getting him back on the field and utilizing his talents.
"He's getting closer," UT coach Tim Beckman said. "Of course we'd love to have Danny Molls, but I want to make sure that Danny Molls is 100 percent healthy."
One of Molls' roommates, junior quarterback Austin Dantin, said he and his other teammates have tried to keep Molls' spirits up and make sure he knows he's still a big part of the Rockets' future.
"It was tough at first for him," Dantin said. "But he's accepted it and realized there's nothing you can really do about it. It's just one of those things. He wants to get back as soon as possible, and he's doing everything he possibly he can to get back, but until he's 100 percent, he's not going to be on the field."
INJURY UPDATES: The Rockets' list of walking wounded continued to grow last weekend against Eastern Michigan.
Senior tight end Danny Noble had surgery Monday after breaking his ankle during the third quarter against the Eagles, and his college career is over.
Junior safety Jermaine Robinson is questionable to play against Bowling Green, Beckman said, after leaving the field last Saturday with a cast on his right hand/wrist.
Beckman didn't know yet whether junior defensive end and Perrysburg graduate T.J. Fatinikun would be able to play this week because the team's medical staff was still evaluating the extent of his dislocated right elbow suffered in the first quarter against EMU.
PAGE HONORS: Junior Eric Page picked up two more honors following his performance last Saturday when he scored on an 85-yard punt return, which was the first punt return TD of his career.
The Springfield graduate was named to the Paul Hornung Award weekly honor roll for the fourth time in the last five weeks and also was named Mid-American Conference West Division special teams player of the week.
"It's great for the team, and I wouldn't be getting these awards if we weren't winning," Page said.
Contact Zach Silka at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @ZachSilka.
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