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Evans back on the field

Running back Darren Evans practiced Monday for the first time since suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in August. He will not return this season.

Wearing full pads and a green, non-activity jersey, Evans was able to run and to catch passes but did not participate in contact drills. The practice was not open to reporters.

"I just told him to take it easy," said Billy Hite, the Hokies' running backs coach. "We didn't put him through the run drills. I was tickled to death to see him out there. And he wants to be out there."

Evans, who turned 21 on Monday, has been rehabilitating six days a week for about two hours each day and recently started running on a treadmill. He has also been attending the running backs' Monday-morning film sessions at 6:45.

Hite said he told Evans he was welcome to join the team at practices and meetings, but that his rehabilitation should take priority.

"I'm leaving it all up to him," Hite said of Evans's involvement. "A lot of time, when he does come by, it's not about football; it's about his life and his family."

In a preseason practice on Aug. 7, Evans stepped on the foot of teammate James Gayle during a drill. He crumpled to the ground and later he said then that he heard his knee pop. Trainers evaluated Evans but could not feel structural damage to the knee because of Evans’s muscular build, and he did not undergo an MRI exam.

Four days later, Evans returned to full-speed to practice. But in the third period of that practice session, Evans made a cut and fell to the ground. An MRI confirmed that his ACL was torn. He underwent surgery to repair the knee on Aug. 14.

Evans is expected to return to full speed by spring practice.

By Mark Viera  |  November 10, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
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