Biggest foe for Vols' Walker? Pain

Tennessee defensive end making most of his time on the field

Tennessee defensive end Chris Walker (84) sacks Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (15) on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee defensive end Chris Walker (84) sacks Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (15) on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.

Some days the issue isn't practice.

It's getting out of bed.

Sometimes the move Chris Walker is worried about isn't a spin past an offensive tackle.

It's making sure the Tennessee defensive end can walk without too much pain from his aching back.

When Walker is feeling healthy or a close approximation of it, few players have been able to match his impact for the Vols. The hard part for about a month has been trying to ensure he's available to do it on Saturdays, which UT has had plenty of practice with lately. Heading into a critical trip to Mississippi on Saturday (TV: WVLT, noon), that means Walker doesn't always get any during the week.

"Man, it's been a struggle," Walker said. "It's really frustrating at times just because there are some days I wake up and I feel great. There are times when I get out of bed and I really can't walk too well.

"It's just a matter of me being smart. It's coming out to practice and knowing the things that I can and can't do. The coaches know about it, the trainers know about it, so it's something that's good because we're all on the same page."

Certainly the UT (5-4, 2-3 SEC) playbook is more effective with Walker involved up front, and he appeared to be moving without any restrictions against Memphis.

He chased a man down from behind, he picked up his first solo sack since September and teamed up with Wes Brown for another before spending most of the second half on the sideline. That rest was surely good for him with a more physical test waiting from the Rebels (6-3, 2-3), but Walker has made considerable progress since pulling himself out of the lineup for South Carolina after warm-ups two games ago.

"Well, two weeks ago now, it was just like a stabbing pain, like somebody was stabbing me in my lower back," Walker said. "It was something that doesn't go away. When you lift your leg up, it hurt. When you try to move, it hurts. It's something that is very nagging, but there are times when it calms down and you really can't feel it. That's where I'm at right now, and that's good for me.

"When I was on the field, it felt great. There was not one time in the game Saturday where I was like, 'Oh, I need to pull up a little bit.' I was out there running full speed, out there having fun, out there making the moves I needed to, all the cuts I needed to, and it was fine."

The results were better than that, and for a team that has struggled at times to generate consistent pressure on the quarterback, a healthy Walker could be a difference-maker in the push for a perfect November and a more lucrative bowl invitation.

And both the Vols and Walker are doing everything they can to make sure he's on his feet and on the field for as much of it as possible.

"The training staff is doing a little bit of treatment that helps," Walker said. "They gave me some anti-inflammatory medicine that calmed my back down, mainly stuff like that helps with the little stuff that calms it down so I can walk. It's something that helps me out a lot to get ready for the game.

"It's just a matter of me taking it day by day, getting in the training room, getting the treatment that I need and getting the rehab that I need for my back."

It appears to be working. Against the Tigers, it was definitely worth getting out of bed for, as well.

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Comments » 25

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

I heard that Chris Walker was "unblockable" in practice....I know during the games, he is so fast and very strong!! AND does anyone know what year he is?? I can't keep up with what year each player is!!

CoverOrange writes:

Sounds vaguely like a herniated disk. Fourth or fifth lumbar. Is SAVol in the house?

SmokeyHound writes:

walker is a junior. hopefully coming back - if jeff luc does commit how will he be used in our d with nick reveis and company?

SmokeyHound writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

I heard that Chris Walker was "unblockable" in practice....I know during the games, he is so fast and very strong!! AND does anyone know what year he is?? I can't keep up with what year each player is!!

walker is a junior. hopefully coming back

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to SmokeyHound:

walker is a junior. hopefully coming back

Thanks, SmokeyHound!!!

CarthageVol writes:

What does PF think about all of this STUFF. Probably doesn't care with his monthly allowanceof 125K. How much time did we waist?

CoverOrange writes:

in response to CarthageVol:

What does PF think about all of this STUFF. Probably doesn't care with his monthly allowanceof 125K. How much time did we waist?

Waist? Was that a pun? Good one!

CarthageVol writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Waist? Was that a pun? Good one!

I try.

KSargent writes:

Hey Mr Ole Miss Sneed .... he's coming .......... to kiss you in the mouth ......... going to hurt bad

FWBVol writes:

in response to CarthageVol:

What does PF think about all of this STUFF. Probably doesn't care with his monthly allowanceof 125K. How much time did we waist?

I don't understand why some so-called UT fans are still so bitter and petty about Phillip Fulmer. Fulmer gave his all for UT for more years than most of us can ever imagine. I'm 51 years old and CPF is the only football coach in my lifetime to lead us to a National Championship. I supported Phillip Fulmer and I now support Lane Kiffin. I only hope that Lane Kiffin sticks around long enough to win 150 games and a national championship.

If winning the NC was so easy, UT with all of our great facilities and tradition would have more than two of them.

Mpboldt writes:

Try Acupuncture, it works wonders for my bad bad, which is mostly muscle spasms.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to CarthageVol:

I try.

You're not from around Defeated Creek or Difficult, are you?

Walker needs a great game vs Snead.

b_neas writes:

Man i wish he could get to 100%, when healthy he is as good a DE as UT has seen in a long long time, maybe since Leonard Little, OK maybe that is stretching it lets say Parys Harralson

tntorbett writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I don't understand why some so-called UT fans are still so bitter and petty about Phillip Fulmer. Fulmer gave his all for UT for more years than most of us can ever imagine. I'm 51 years old and CPF is the only football coach in my lifetime to lead us to a National Championship. I supported Phillip Fulmer and I now support Lane Kiffin. I only hope that Lane Kiffin sticks around long enough to win 150 games and a national championship.

If winning the NC was so easy, UT with all of our great facilities and tradition would have more than two of them.

The only thing that angers me is the fact that Fulmer became so blatantly complacent after winning the NC; as can easily be noted by the lack of discipline, perpetually growing number of arrests during the offseason under his watch. After he won the NC, it seemed like he thought that tallent would simply come here because he was here. The drop off in his recruiting/coaching ability has been becoming painfully apparent over the last several years if you follow the NFL draft. UT has traditionally been one of the schools to place a lot players into the NFL, but that tradition has been falling off in recent years, culminated in last years lone pick Robert Ayers. I don't believe under Fulmer's watch Hardesty would be the NFL prospect he is now, the same could said for a number of other players who are currently being developed properly under the Kiffin regime. With regards to Fulmer's complacency in coaching, it's bad when every fan in the stadium can tell simply by how the offensive plays were aligned exactly what they were gonna run. You know if the fans could, the opposing coaches could as well. Fulmer said he wanted to go out on his terms, his way, well he should have done that a few years back when the problem became so painfully evident. However, I must say I'm glad he didn't; because now we have a great Coach & coaching staff.

bmgvirgo#210233 writes:

It sounds more like a bulging disc than a herniated disc at this point. He would not have the relief already if it was herniated.

UTByrd writes:

If any body can get hold of UT's trainer, tell him about Turmeric. It is a cooking spice that not only helps get rid of MRSA boils in 10 days(antibiotic resistant), it is also packed full of anti-inflammatory ingredients. It does wonders for joint pain.
Start out with 2 capsules a day for 3 days then go to one a day. If pain persists after 5 days, go to 2 a day, 3, 4, 5 a day, etc.
It does not counteract any prescription meds and has no ill side effects.
Any questions? Go to www.earthclinic. com. It is full of natural cures and preventions, things that the medical establishment does not want people to know.
This site will give you a description of the malady and every thing after that is purely testimonials of the success or failure of the prescribed treatment. No one is trying to sell you anything and it is a faith based site that is dedicated to keeping people healthy so they won't have to go to a doctor.
Go VOLS!!!!!

tntorbett writes:

BTW for the person who says they're having trouble keeping up w/ what year everyone is this may help:
http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-foot...

tngivem6 writes:

in response to Mpboldt:

Try Acupuncture, it works wonders for my bad bad, which is mostly muscle spasms.

I am a chiropractor, and in my professional opinion, just by reading what his complaints are, sharp stabbing pain in lower back, more than likely that pain is around the belt line. Which, just by location itself, could be a sacral iliac joint disfunction. We see this type of problem in our office (my dad and wife are also both chiropractors, as was my grandfather) on a daily basis.

Ok brace yourself, going to give the chiropractic health talk here.

The sacral iliac joint is made up of the ilium (right and left) (which is a bone alot of people refer to as there hip, the true hip joint is a little lower) and also the sacrum in the middle of the lower back. Ligaments are what holds bone to bone in proper alignment. So, the only way this joint will move out of alignment is if the ligaments have gotten weaker, (sprain can be due to trauma or possibly repeative activies,,ie football) Once the ligaments get to a point they can no longer keep the joint in proper alignment, a misalignment occurs. Sharp pain usually, not always but usually, describes joint related pain.

It been seen in our office, that the pain will at first come and go. Sharp for a few days then dull achy pain (tooth achey is a good description).

What starts to happen is , since the ligaments that hold this joint in alignment aren't strong enough to do their job, now the body has to use muscles in the same area to do the job of the ligaments., by pulling and straining.

Did you know that it only takes the wait of 1 dime to cause nerve pressure to a point where you can feel it? It usually will feel either numb or tingling to a burning sensation.

Those of you that workout know what happens when a muscle works ? Lactic acid bulds up, muscle swell. The acid makes it feel stiff, (especially in the morning), sore and achey.

As long as the person is moving and staying active, the pain typically decreases, to a point. That is because the lactic acid is being broken up in the tissue of the muscles, causing the muscles to relax.

Ice is the best thing for treating swelling, not heat. Heating pads, though does releave the pain some what, will cause this kind of conditon to get worse, because the pad only heats the surface, causing more blood flow to the inflammed area = more swelling.
Remember the weight of a dime is all it takes to cause nerve pressure.The more nerve pressure, the more numbness, usually. Numbness will travel done the leg and into the feet if its been going on long enough.

Of course you would want to make sure its not a disc problem causing this pain to. Thats a story for another time.

Good news is this condition, SI joint disfunction, is totally correctable with the right kind of chiropractic adjustments and as well as physical therapeutics and physcial training rehab.

This has been your public health moment. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

tngivem6 writes:

BTW love the picture at the top of this article, Walker laying the wood to Tebow. Classic.
GO BIG ORANGE!!

tngivem6 writes:

Wow, just re-read my long winded post, and now wish this site had spell check..hah
Sometimes the brain works faster than the fingers can keep up.

wayoutwill writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

I heard that Chris Walker was "unblockable" in practice....I know during the games, he is so fast and very strong!! AND does anyone know what year he is?? I can't keep up with what year each player is!!

Walker is a Jr.He is a 2 yr. letterman;started out as a 'backer,beefed up for the line last year;got the Spiva award for most improved this spring and will probably have a herniated disc repaired after the season.He is on his way from Memphis to the NFL like so many other Vol players are!GO VOLS!

wayoutwill writes:

in response to tngivem6:

I am a chiropractor, and in my professional opinion, just by reading what his complaints are, sharp stabbing pain in lower back, more than likely that pain is around the belt line. Which, just by location itself, could be a sacral iliac joint disfunction. We see this type of problem in our office (my dad and wife are also both chiropractors, as was my grandfather) on a daily basis.

Ok brace yourself, going to give the chiropractic health talk here.

The sacral iliac joint is made up of the ilium (right and left) (which is a bone alot of people refer to as there hip, the true hip joint is a little lower) and also the sacrum in the middle of the lower back. Ligaments are what holds bone to bone in proper alignment. So, the only way this joint will move out of alignment is if the ligaments have gotten weaker, (sprain can be due to trauma or possibly repeative activies,,ie football) Once the ligaments get to a point they can no longer keep the joint in proper alignment, a misalignment occurs. Sharp pain usually, not always but usually, describes joint related pain.

It been seen in our office, that the pain will at first come and go. Sharp for a few days then dull achy pain (tooth achey is a good description).

What starts to happen is , since the ligaments that hold this joint in alignment aren't strong enough to do their job, now the body has to use muscles in the same area to do the job of the ligaments., by pulling and straining.

Did you know that it only takes the wait of 1 dime to cause nerve pressure to a point where you can feel it? It usually will feel either numb or tingling to a burning sensation.

Those of you that workout know what happens when a muscle works ? Lactic acid bulds up, muscle swell. The acid makes it feel stiff, (especially in the morning), sore and achey.

As long as the person is moving and staying active, the pain typically decreases, to a point. That is because the lactic acid is being broken up in the tissue of the muscles, causing the muscles to relax.

Ice is the best thing for treating swelling, not heat. Heating pads, though does releave the pain some what, will cause this kind of conditon to get worse, because the pad only heats the surface, causing more blood flow to the inflammed area = more swelling.
Remember the weight of a dime is all it takes to cause nerve pressure.The more nerve pressure, the more numbness, usually. Numbness will travel done the leg and into the feet if its been going on long enough.

Of course you would want to make sure its not a disc problem causing this pain to. Thats a story for another time.

Good news is this condition, SI joint disfunction, is totally correctable with the right kind of chiropractic adjustments and as well as physical therapeutics and physcial training rehab.

This has been your public health moment. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

There's a reason that most Doctors,my neurosurgeon Pops being one of them,say stay away from folks that want to put you into a pretzel shape and pop you around like a things that pop won't break!There's also a reason that few insurance companies will pay for a visit to what is little more than a Witchdoctor and being compared to that jerk ain't a good thing!So,STF up 'cause you guys damage more people than you ever help,the ones that think you helped 'em weren't hurt to start with,nothing that a little exercise wouldn't have fixed>You're a joke to the real world of Doctoring!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to TigerNash:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Funny, but this makes WAY more sense and shows more intelligence than your basketball posts.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to tngivem6:

BTW love the picture at the top of this article, Walker laying the wood to Tebow. Classic.
GO BIG ORANGE!!

I know..I DO TOO!! I like it so much that I just might save it and make it my PC desktop!!!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to wayoutwill:

Walker is a Jr.He is a 2 yr. letterman;started out as a 'backer,beefed up for the line last year;got the Spiva award for most improved this spring and will probably have a herniated disc repaired after the season.He is on his way from Memphis to the NFL like so many other Vol players are!GO VOLS!

Thanks, wayoutwill!!!!!

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