Huskies Insider Blog

Out there, next step for Tokolahi is facing live bodies

One of the welcomed sights for the UW coaching staff so far this week, as far as key returners coming off injuries, is seeing defensive tackle Semisi Tokolahi back in pads - and in limited duty.

Tokolahi suffered two gruesome injuries to his left foot - a broken fibula and a dislocated ankle - in the Apple Cup last December. He had surgery on the foot the next day back at the UW.

Rehabilitation consisted of a lot of rest, then running during spring ball.

But for the start of fall camp Monday, the junior from Hilo, Hawaii - who played in all 12 games last season, starting the final three during the team's furious finish - was back out there in a non-contact capacity.

"Monday was the most I ever pushed that ankle (since the injury)," Tokolahi said. "It felt good."

And on Wednesday, he was in pads, moving head on in light pass-rushing drills against the sled.

A timetable for his return to live action has not been set, UW coach Steve Sarkisian said.

"(We're) not going to force it with him. We've got time. We've got a lot more depth on the defensive line than I think people think," Sarkisian said. "I want to make sure he's playing really good football for us in October and in November. If that means that we lose a little of that in early September, that's OK with me."

Tokolahi, himself, isn't even sure how far along his foot is. He admitted he is not 100 percent healthy.

"I couldn’t even say (how close)," Tokolahi said. "But I am getting there, slowly but surely.

"I get asked about it every day. These coaches are very patient. They are giving me the slack I need to build this leg up."

With the wait comes added perspective.

"The injury made me realize how football is important," Tokolahi said. "This is our life, and being able to run around with these guys, I want to send these seniors out on a good note."