Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 12/29/11
Just six weeks after being shot at a party, Illinois linebacker Trulon Henry is set to make an improbable return in Saturday's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against UCLA. Henry was shot Nov. 13 in his right hand, and the bullet exited through his forearm, breaking a bone. The 26-year-old senior had gone to an off-campus house party to pick up some of his teammates who had called him and said they wanted to leave after an altercation. The original prognosis called for Henry's injury to take at least six weeks to heal, with another six to eight weeks of rehab needed. But the 26-year-old Henry immediately went to work with the team's trainers and medical staff, hoping to get healthy enough to return in a bowl game, IlliniHQ.com reported. "Trulon is an extremely tough kid," team trainer Nick Richey said. "He said, 'If there is any way to try to play, I would really like to do it.' Everybody's comfortable letting him try [to play] if he wants to do it." Henry, who is the older brother of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver and former Illini star Arrelious Benn, spent more than four years in prison for armed robbery. The Washington, D.C., native arrived at Illinois last season after spending two years at a junior college in Illinois. "God's got a plan for you. When stuff happens to you like that and you almost lose your life, that's all you can think about," Henry said. "God must have a plan for me. He must not have wanted me to die that day. He must not have wanted me to die in jail. And so forth and so forth. I keep that in my mind when I go through my daily life. Eating a sandwich and simple stuff like that, that people take for granted, I don't." Henry is not expected to start at outside linebacker, but is on course to play after practicing with the team in Oakland over the past few days. He had the cast removed from his hand only a week ago. "I can't believe he's even attempting to play," said linebacker Ian Thomas. "He has a lot of heart. We're going to support him." Richey said Henry will wear a heavy pad on his hand, but his time on the field will depend on how much pain he can withstand. "We can protect him as much as we can," Richey said. "We can't take away some of the pain. So, it's all about what he can and what he can't deal with. He's done a great job with it." The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl will be played in San Francisco's AT&T Park, matching up two teams who will play under interim coaches.
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