One step forward, one-and-a-half steps back.
On Tuesday, senior quarterback Dylen Smith started and finished a Kansas University football practice for the first time since Friday.
But the Jayhawks also learned Tuesday that junior wideout Harrison Hill, the team's receiving-yards leader last season, would not play in KU's season opener against Southern Methodist on Saturday, and they practiced without second-string linebacker Dariss Lomax.
Lomax, suffering the same intestinal flu symptoms that kept Smith doubled over since Saturday, should be available for SMU. Hill, battling chronic dehydration that has plagued him since high school, will not.
As much as he will miss Hill, KU coach Terry Allen couldn't help but breathe a bit easier on Tuesday after the Jayhawks ran through a two-hour practice under the lights at Memorial Stadium.
"(Smith) got in a little bit today," Allen said. "We limited his reps a little bit, because we don't want to push him too much. But it's good to see him out there. He should be 100 percent for Saturday."
Smith's vomiting began Saturday, and originally it was assumed he had fallen victim to the brutal heat. The woes since have been attributed to a flu bug that's making its way around the team.
"I didn't hurl today, so that's good," said Smith, a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder from Santa Monica, Calif. "I'd say I'm in the 90s (percent). My health will come back by Saturday. I hope to be 100 percent by Friday."
Tuesday's practice was moved to evening to give the Jayhawks and Smith a break from the heat.
"Walking to class, I barely made it," Smith said. "I don't know if I would have made it if we practiced in the heat."
Allen said he was a little concerned still about Smith's stamina for Saturday's opener in sure-to-be sultry Dallas.
"Young people are more resilient," Allen said. "It is Tuesday, so he's got four days, and he's through the flu sequence of it. We'll get some solid food in him. But, yes, I am a little concerned with the potential of heat of a Dallas September evening."
Allen also remains concerned with Hill's health. A 5-11, 190-pound junior from Wichita, Hill led KU last season with 506 receiving yards on 29 catches and had made 16 straight starts until he was forced out of practice a week-and-a-half ago with dehydration symptoms that included vomiting and severe headaches.
"He won't play Saturday," Allen said. "There's nothing I know beyond that. It's game by game after that."
Allen said Hill's starting job would fall to Eric Patterson, a 6-1, 205-pound senior who has 13 career catches, and his snaps would be shared by Patterson and Byron Gasaway, a 6-4, 205-pound sophomore.
Gasaway, who sat out last season as a medical red-shirt after suffering a broken jaw in the offseason, has been slowed by a sprained ankle.
"He was probably 85 percent (Monday)," Allen said. "I talked to him today and he said he feels 90 percent. Hopefully he'll be 100 percent by Saturday."
Lomax, a 6-2, 235-pound senior linebacker from Kansas City, became the latest flu victim Tuesday.
"Pass the hat," Allen said. "He's standing. He was trotting earlier, so he should be good to go (today)."
KU's opener will kick off at 6 p.m. Saturday at SMU's Ford Stadium in Dallas.
Pelfanio named: KU senior punter Joey Pelfanio is one of 32 players on the Ray Guy Award watch list. The Guy award goes to the best punter in college football as determined by a committee of writers, coaches, former punters and members designated by the Greater August Sports Council.