The wait is almost over for Tennessee linebacker Herman Lathers.
After missing the entire 2011 season with a fractured left ankle, Lathers returns to action Friday when Tennessee faces North Carolina State at the Georgia Dome in the opener for both teams. A strained quadriceps muscle has limited Lathers for much of the preseason, but he doesn't expect the injury to keep him from playing against the Wolfpack.
This only represents the latest comeback for Lathers, who already has dealt with a lifetime's worth of adversity. He spent much of his adolescence battling bone cancer and believing he'd never get the chance to play sports. Now he teams up with sophomores A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt to lead a linebacker corps that should anchor Tennessee's defense.