Bruises healed, Collin Klein back on Kansas State's practice field

11/29/2011 12:00 AM

11/30/2011 6:46 AM

MANHATTAN — The last time B.J. Finney can remember Collin Klein comfortably walking without a noticeable injury around the house they share, he was preparing for Halloween.

At least that's what K-State's freshman center thinks he was doing. Five days removed from Thanksgiving, Finney had to search his mind to recall when exactly that moment was.

"It was before Oklahoma," Finney said. "He took some hard hits against OU and got bruised pretty bad. Then after that he never really had the chance to let those bruises heal."

K-State lost to Oklahoma on Oct. 29 and a heartbreaking game the following week against Oklahoma State. Klein took several more tough hits against the Cowboys. So much so, coach Bill Snyder held him out of practice leading up to games against Texas A&M and Texas.

Finney understood.

"I just remember looking at his arm after the Oklahoma State game and it was one solid bruise all the way down," Finney said. "I was like, 'Ouch.' "

With all of K-State's Big 12 games on television, viewers watched Klein pick up those lumps and earn a reputation as being one of the toughest quarterbacks in college football.

An off week allowed Klein, who did not attend a media interview session Tuesday, to rest up and return to practice this week. The hope now is that he is healthy enough to resemble the quarterback he was before Halloween. The quarterback teammates remember not only for enduring plenty of tackles, but initiating contact with defenders like he did in an early-season win at Miami.

Perhaps a healthier body will make him a more aggressive player.

"We're definitely hoping that he's back and can maybe show us like he was at the beginning of the season and have a blowout game," defensive end Jordan Voelker said.

Klein attended practices before K-State's last two games and took what he has called "mental reps" during that time. His on-field performance didn't appear to change against the Aggies, when he led the Wildcats to a four-overtime victory by scoring six touchdowns. But he didn't perform up to his normal standards during a 17-13 win at Texas.

"It had a little bit of an impact," Snyder said. "Not as much as people would like to think, but I think it certainly does. Anyone would be hard pressed to go a substantial amount of time without practicing, particularly at that position. But he handles it much better than you could anticipate."

Finney said his roommate was happy to be able to practice again.

"It's crucial to him that he be able to practice, because in his mind there are a lot of things he needs to work on," Finney said. "He's his own worst critic. He wants to be able to work on things every day."

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