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Meyer: Harvin's heel healing well

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -Florida receiver Percy Harvin is ``ahead of schedule'' in his return from heel surgery, coach Urban Meyer said Thursday.

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Meyer said Harvin, one of the nation's most dynamic players, has started running full speed and should be ready to go when the Gators begin fall practice next month.

``He's doing tremendous,'' Meyer said at the Florida Sports Writers Association's annual college football media days. ``What happens with skilled athletes and you see it all the time - especially with the race-horse-type guys - if they hurt a certain part of their body, another part of their body takes over and then you start having the hip flexors, hamstring issues, quad issues. So we're being very cautious.''

Harvin had surgery in early April, hoping to relieve years of pain in his right heel that had bothered him off and on since his high school days in Virginia Beach.

It was initially treated as tendinitis at Florida, but the pain persisted and eventually caused soreness in his knee and hip.

Despite the nagging injury, Harvin ran for 764 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore last season and caught 59 passes for 858 yards and four scores.

The Gators believe he can be even better if he stays healthy.

Harvin hasn't played every game in either of his two seasons, missing time because of an ankle injury in 2006 and sitting out two games last year because of migraine headaches.

He's also sat out countless practices because of a hip pointer, tendinitis in his Achilles' tendon/heel and tendinitis in his knee.

Frustrated by all the injuries, Harvin put in more time in the weight room and became one of the team's strongest players at his position. He opened spring practice around 200 pounds and hoped to avoid further injury, but the heel continued to be a problem, and team doctors decided surgery was the best option.

Now, the Gators hope Harvin can avoid any setbacks.

``It's still early, but we don't anticipate that,'' Meyer said. ``It's been a very good summer for Percy.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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