Adrian Peterson plans to return for Oklahoma bowl game

Wednesday, October 18th 2006, 2:13 pm
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Adrian Peterson plans to play at least one more game for Oklahoma.

The star tailback, speaking publicly for the first time since breaking his collarbone on Saturday, said he intends to play in a bowl game if the Sooners reach the postseason.

``I'm praying each night for a speedy recovery,'' Peterson said Wednesday at a news conference. ``I love to play the game. I would enjoy going out there and playing with the guys and getting back on the field.''

The junior was injured after falling into the end zone and landing awkwardly on his left shoulder at the end of a spectacular 53-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of Oklahoma's 34-9 win over Iowa State.

Peterson, whose left arm is in a sling, said he could be back in four to six weeks, but Oklahoma trainer Scott Anderson offered a six-week timeframe for Peterson's return. The injury is being treated without surgery, Anderson said.

Peterson, with coach Bob Stoops standing nearby, didn't take questions about whether he plans to return to school next year or enter the NFL draft.

Oklahoma is 4-2 and 1-1 in the Big 12 entering Saturday's home game against Colorado. The 20th-ranked Sooners need two more wins to become bowl-eligible.

If Peterson makes it back in four weeks, he could conceivably play in Oklahoma's final two regular-season games, at Baylor on Nov. 18 and at Oklahoma State on Nov. 25.

The Big 12 title game is Dec. 2.

``It depends on how things heal,'' Peterson said. ``I've got to take my time and let it heal correctly.''

Peterson said he immediately knew something was ``seriously wrong'' when he hit the turf on his final play. He said he's still in ``a lot of pain'' but that he plans to maintain his conditioning while the injury heals and attend Oklahoma football practices.

``It's crazy, taking the pounding I take ... to fall like that and unfortunately break a collarbone,'' he said.

Peterson's injury came while playing for the first time in years with his father, Nelson Peterson, in the stands. Nelson Peterson had spent about eight years in federal prison for money laundering. Oddly, after the game, Adrian Peterson's mother, Bonita Jackson, broke her ankle while playing basketball during a family get-together.

``I told her this is a day we're never going to forget,'' he said. ``It was a crazy weekend.''

Peterson ran for 183 yards and two touchdowns against Iowa State. He has 935 yards and 10 touchdowns this season and is the second-leading rusher in country.

Peterson set an NCAA Division I-A freshman record with 1,925 rushing yards in 2004 as he helped lead Oklahoma to the Bowl Championship Series title game and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting. He's rushed for at least 100 yards in 22 of his 30 games at Oklahoma, including nine straight to start his career.

His performance Saturday moved him into fourth place on Oklahoma's all-time rushing list. He would need only 150 to match 1978 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims' total of 4,118 yards.

``That's something that's pretty cool,'' Peterson said. ``Actually, I didn't really know about it until after the game. It's not something that I've been focusing on.''

Despite all his success, Peterson has been fairly injury-prone in his Oklahoma career. He dislocated his left shoulder in fall practice in 2004, reaggravated it during the regular season and then had surgery in the offseason.

He missed one game last season and was severely limited in three others with a sprained right ankle.

``Adrian has always had a great capacity for recovery, and certainly he's motivated,'' Anderson said.