Arkansas junior running back and 2022 first-team All-SEC pick Raheim Sanders has been dealing with a knee injury he suffered in the season opener against Western Carolina in Little Rock, Ark. Sanders is a top running back prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft.
He’s played in only three games this season. After missing last week’s matchup, will Sanders return this week against Mississippi State? We have the latest injury updates.
Raheim Sanders Injury Update
Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman said Sanders will not play against Mississippi State, per Scottie Bordelon of Whole Hog Sports. The uncertain availability of Sanders has brought into question as to whether Sanders will play again for Arkansas this season.
Sanders, 6’2″, 242, was a 2022 first-team All-SEC pick who produced 1,443 yards and 10 scores on the ground last year but has been unable to live up to expectations this season. With only 34 carries for 91 yards in three games, “Rocket” Sanders has been anything but.
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Before returning against Texas A&M on September 30th, Pittman was elusive about the injury, saying he’d miss only one or two games with a knee issue. But that was almost six weeks ago.
“So Rocket has an injury that, it’s going to take a couple of weeks for him to heal. But that’s the length of it,” Pittman said.
“Maybe two, maybe three weeks. So he won’t be able to play this Saturday and possibly next Saturday. We’re not positive about that. But it’s not going to linger any further than maybe a couple games.”
Sanders didn’t make the trip with the team to LSU in Week 4, but he returned for a pair of contests against Texas A&M and Ole Miss. However, despite appearing in back-to-back games, he missed the following week against Alabama.
Sanders’ draft stock could use a boost that can only come with him returning to the field and playing well. He recently took a drop in PFN’s 2024 NFL Draft running back rankings and could slide further if he doesn’t play well.
The 2024 class is deep with similarly talented backs who aren’t dealing with a troublesome knee.
Though Sanders is undoubtedly a unique prospect due to his size and straight-line speed, tall backs come with their own set of risks for injury.
Derrick Henry is the most recent back who has carved out a highly successful NFL career despite defying traditional concerns about his high-cut build. Sanders is hoping to become the next iteration of Henry.
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