OU football: D.J. Ward battling 'spleen issues'

OU coach Bob Stoops said Ward's family and doctors are still determining how to proceed.
by Ryan Aber and Jason Kersey Published: August 5, 2013

photo - High school football player D.J. Ward poses for a photo at his Lawton, Okla., home on Thursday, July 19, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
High school football player D.J. Ward poses for a photo at his Lawton, Okla., home on Thursday, July 19, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma freshman defensive end D.J. Ward hasn't practiced yet, Sooners coach Bob Stoops said Monday.

Stoops said Ward is having “spleen issues” that are keeping him off the field.

“We're unsure where that will lead,” Stoops said. “We're uncertain right now where that's going to be.”

Stoops said Ward's family and doctors are still determining how to proceed.

Ward didn't play last year as a high school senior after being denied a hardship waiver by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association after a move from Douglass to Southmoore. Ward had been granted a hardship when he moved from Lawton to Douglass. He enrolled at OU in January.

He also didn't participate in most of spring practice while his eligibility was reviewed by the NCAA. Ward did play in the spring game.

SAUNDERS WORKING ON THE OUTSIDE

Senior wide receiver Jalen Saunders transferred to OU from Fresno State before last season and was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA after four 2012 games.

Saunders shined in the nine games he played, grabbing 62 catches for 829 yards and three touchdowns in nine games. He worked exclusively as a slot, inside receiver in 2012.

During his time at Fresno State, though, he was an outside threat. Saunders said Monday that he might have the opportunity to play outside some in 2013 at Oklahoma.

“I'm working a little bit of everywhere,” Saunders said. “I'm just testing the waters right now. We'll see when the season starts where I line up.”

Asked about the differences between playing inside and outside, Saunders said, “It's just a cornerback and a nickel back, just different coverages. It's where people line up at, not too much of a difference in the change of slot and outside. You just have to get open. That's what we do at receiver.”

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by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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