As hard as it was for him to miss the past three games, University of Wisconsin junior wide receiver Nick Toon hopes it allowed him to fully recover from his turf toe injury.
Toon doesn't expect to be playing in pain in his scheduled return Saturday against Michigan State.
"That's kind of one of the things we wanted to address and take care of," he said. "It's detrimental to go out on the field and play with an injury that you have to think about while you're playing. Obviously, that takes away from what you're doing when you're playing.
"I still feel it a little bit but it's not something that's intolerable or something I'm thinking about when I'm playing. It's pretty close to being healed."
One of the things the trainers and equipment personnel have been working on with Toon is developing a shoe with either a steel plate or a carbon fiber plate to provide extra protection. After wearing the shoe in practice on Tuesday, Toon felt they were getting close.
"I felt good in practice," he said. "I think we almost have it."
Toon suffered the injury in the opener against UNLV when he caught four passes for 54 yards. One of the things that made the setback so disappointing is he played at such a high level during preseason camp.
"It's always frustrating when you can't play," he said. "We work all year for 12 — and hopefully 13 — opportunities to play. When you're not able to take advantage of (even) one of those opportunities, it kind of (stinks)."
Toon might feel a bit anxious to make up for the time he lost, but he said that won't be an issue.
"You've just got to go out there and do what you do," he said. "You can't try to do more than you're capable of doing."