AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas football may be turning the page toward the 2023 season with the start of spring football on Monday, but that didn’t stop head coach Steve Sarkisian from releasing a big piece of news in his press conference Monday.

Sarkisian revealed star Texas receiver Xavier Worthy played through a broken hand during the second half of last season.

“He was in a cast for about eight weeks roughly,” said Sarkisian about Worthy. “So to get him back out there practicing full speed was awesome.”

When asked why that injury wasn’t disclosed, Sarkisian said that he and his staff didn’t want opponents to find out as they sought to protect Worthy and the program.

It also appeared to affect Worthy at times on the field. He had several key drops down the course of last season, including two big ones against Washington in the Alamo Bowl. He also regressed from 981 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2021 to 760 yards and nine touchdowns in his sophomore campaign.

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“Anytime you’re a receiver and you’re playing with a broken hand, that’s a pretty important aspect of your game,” Sarkisian said. “There were days in practice where we purposely didn’t throw him balls just to take some of the pressure off of it.”

But even through the struggles Worthy faced dealing with the injury, Sarkisian said he has no regrets about keeping the star wide receiver on the field.

“I felt like he was the best option for us [at the receiver position],” Sarkisian said. “He never wanted to sit out. He came to work [and] fought through it.”

And now that he is back to full strength, Sarkisian expects Worthy to be dramatically improved this year.

It will be a big boost to a loaded receiver room that includes Jordan Whittington, Isaiah Neyor, who missed last season due to a torn ACL, Georgia transfer AD Mitchell, and highly touted freshmen Johntay Cook and DeAndre Moore.

The Longhorns will continue spring practice ahead of the annual Orange-White Spring Game scheduled for April 15.