Derek Kinder tries to make a play.
After three days on the sideline, Derek Kinder returned to Pitt's training camp practice Saturday afternoon, and that was a welcome sight for the Panthers.
"It was good to get Derek Kinder back and get him involved a little bit,'' Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt said.
Kinder went through a two-hour practice Tuesday morning, Pitt's first in training camp, and actually felt pretty good afterward. However, when he woke up the next day his rehabilitated right knee was a little swollen and sore. So, basically was given the next three days off. But he didn't hold back much Saturday.
"It felt really good, running around and getting a sweat going,'' Kinder said afterward. "Coach kind of limited me with my plays, but overall he just wanted me to get back into the swing of things. So, it was good for that.
"I went really hard that first practice, so I had to rest my knee some after that. But I would say I'm pretty close to 100 percent, maybe 90, but as soon as I get these couple two-a-days under my belt I think my knee will be all right.''
Pitt practices twice Sunday, once Monday and twice Tuesday with the first intrasquad scrimmage that afternoon. So, it will be interesting to see if Kinder can take the next step and be involved with some contact.
"It feels good cutting on it, but I still have to try to get back to where I was before,'' Kinder said. "I still don't really feel completely comfortable where I'm at right now, but I still have a couple weeks to improve. So, hopefully, by that first game, I'll feel like my old self. And I'm still waiting on that first hit. Hopefully, it'll come soon. Maybe (Sunday).''
It's right around one year since Kinder suffered the ACL tear in his right knee, so it's not hard to believe that there would still be some soreness and swelling now that he's finally pushing the knee to the limit.
"It got a little frustrating, you know, going through that long rehab process,'' Kinder said. "Then, I come out here and work really hard the first day, but all that does is causes me to need rest for a couple days. But I'm trying to stay positive and fight through it, so I'll be all right. You have to go 100 percent or else you won't know for sure if you're all right. And I think I'll be all right.''
While Kinder and junior T.J. Porter (toes) have been limited the past few practices, redshirt juniors Oderick Turner and Cedric McGee have held down the starting spots, but redshirt freshman Aaron Smith and freshmen Jonathan Baldwin, Michael Shanahan and Cameron Saddler have taken advantage of an increase in their repetitions.