Tallahassee, FL - Three days of rest and some of the top care in the nation from the Florida State sports medicine staff had senior quarterback Christian Ponder back at practice Thursday as the Seminoles wrapped up their preparation for Saturday’s key divisional matchup with Clemson. The game will be regionally televised on ABC at 8 p.m.
Ponder returned to the practice field after missing his third consecutive day of practice Wednesday, after team doctors inserted a drain to help remove excess fluid from his right elbow related to his ruptured bursa sac.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher welcomed Ponder back to field but kept a watchful eye on the work and reps he did.
“He did some,” said Fisher. “I didn’t want to take a chance, so we limited what he did. What we’re doing right now, he feels very good about. He took some reps and did some things but we limited what he did as far as numbers. I didn’t want the day after to be a bear. I think he’ll feel good. I really do.”
Fisher still is unsure whether his senior signal-caller will be available for Saturday’s game. He is listed as questionable two days out from kickoff.
“We’ll have to see how tomorrow goes,” said Fisher. “But I expect him to be even better. There’s hardly (any fluid) in there now. The rest has helped a lot. That’s as good as anything with any injury. You watch it in the NFL. If you really evaluate the quarterbacks, they probably practice like once-a-week once they start getting banged and bruised. They’re already in a rhythm this late in the year with what they’re doing, throwing and reading.”
Sophomore quarterback EJ Manuel still took the bulk of the practice reps Thursday. Fisher did say if Manuel was the starter Saturday that redshirt freshman Will Secord will be his backup.
“We haven’t changed a bit [ with EJ in there],” Fisher said. “We’re doing exactly the same thing we’ve been doing. “
Whoever the signal caller is, the Seminoles will have to face one of the best pass rushing defenses in the Atlantic Coast Conference, led by national sack leader Da ‘Quan Bowers, who has 12.5 sacks. FSU wrapped up its usual two-hour Thursday session just before 6 p.m. Fisher again was pleased with his team’s attentiveness as they polished up their game plan.
“Focus was good on both sides,” said Fisher. “Today, it’s game preparation. It’s game ready. You have to come out and execute your calls, your steps, your technique. It’s wrapping up [the week] but it’s wrapping up with detail. You’re honing to game mode and you’re honing to execution.”