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Tim Cornett, UNLV’s top returning running back, to miss spring practice while recovering from surgery

Spring practice begins Monday, but five key returners from last year will be sidelined

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Steve Marcus

UNLV running back Tim Cornett outruns New Mexico defenders on a touchdown run at Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012.

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The UNLV football team’s top returning running back, a wide receiver and three veteran linemen will miss spring practice while recovering from offseason surgeries, Rebels coach Bobby Hauck said Wednesday.

The 15-session spring practice begins Monday at Rebel Park, but senior tailback Tim Cornett (arm) and junior wide receiver Devante Davis (leg) won’t participate while recovering from minor procedures. Offensive lineman Brett Boyko (knee) and Robert Waterman (arm), and defensive end Parker Holloway (arm) will also miss spring practice.

Hauck wouldn’t give specifics about each player but said the surgeries were for maintenance — except for Boyko, who missed a good chunk of last season after having surgery Nov. 5. Hauck expects all five players to be ready for training camp in August. Most will return to full training in April, giving them plenty of time to make improvements for the fall.

“That’s why we get this done in December,” Hauck said of the procedures.

Cornett has rushed for 2,345 yards and 26 touchdowns in his three years at UNLV, the first Rebel since 1981 to lead the team in rushing three straight seasons. Davis was the Rebels’ most productive receiver in 2012, catching 61 passes for 854 yards and four touchdowns.

The 6-foot-7, 310-pound Boyko saw limited action last year after starting every game and earning freshman all-American honors in 2011 as a redshirt freshman.

Waterman, the Rebels’ junior center, in 2012 was all an-Mountain West Conference honorable mention selection, while the senior Holloway was one of UNLV’s best defensive linemen. He was second on the team with seven tackles for a loss and added 2.5 sacks.

The absence will create opportunities for other players to prove themselves. It will also create a shortage in the depth chart at running back. Northwestern transfer Adonis Smith will get a bulk of the carries this spring, while Hauck said a few walk-ons will provide depth in the backfield. In addition to Cornett, last year’s backup, Bradley Randle, skipped his senior season to attempt a professional career.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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