In the spring, Jaycen Taylor's status for 2009 appeared tenuous.
The senior running back was more or less a spectator during spring ball while still struggling with his recovery from the knee surgery that forced him to redshirt last season, so much so that he underwent surgery again in April.
But now, Taylor says the second procedure did the trick.
"The second surgery basically made everything better for me," Taylor said this week. "... It wasn't healing like they thought it would, but you could say the second surgery got it back on schedule."
With that said, Taylor still has nearly a year of rust to shake and a grueling rehabilitation to finish off. He was injured during training camp last August and hasn't done much football-specific work since then.
"It's still a process," Taylor said. "I'm training and still trying to get it back to where it was, but right now, it's feeling really good."
That's good news for Purdue, who'd like to have Taylor in his old form at its disposal this season, to go along with youngsters Ralph Bolden and Al-Terek McBurse and its other running backs.
"It's going to feel good to get back out there and play," Taylor said. "This was my first year sitting out and not play any football, so it's going to feel great to get back out on the field."
Coach Danny Hope has seen little of Taylor at his best in person, but is eager to see the veteran in camp.
"If he's healthy and can help us win, I would love to have him out there," Hope said, "because I saw film on him from 2007 and he was an awfully good player. I've just not gotten to see him play much football in person since I've been here and I've been here a year-and-a-half."
Splitting carries in 2006 and 2007 with Kory Sheets, the charismatic Taylor totaled 1,237 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, bringing a very distinct energy to the Boilermaker huddle.
Taylor's career per-carry average of 5.62 yards currently ranks him fourth all-time at Purdue. He'd like to offer glimpses this season of his past play at Purdue.
"I feel like people just forgot about me," he said. "I have to remind some people that I'm still here and I do exist."
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