Hurst suffered his leg injury in the first half of UNC's bowl victory over Cincinnati on Dec. 28. Despite a grueling rehab process, the 6-foot-5, 298-pound left tackle estimated that he's only a week or two away from being back to 100 percent.
"It was tough to get started," Hurst said. "It was a lot of just sitting there, moving your leg and ankle around, but it sped up pretty quick. Everything went really good with the surgery, so I didn't have any complications, any hiccups. I was excited about that and was able to maximize my time training and rehabbing."
Former teammate and current Arizona Cardinals guard Jonathan Cooper suffered the same injury last August – although Hurst described Cooper's break as a "tad worse" than his – and the good friends have been able to lean on one another for support.
Hurst attended the NFL Combine in February in Indianapolis – just 14 miles from his hometown of Plainfield, Ind. – but was unable to participate.
"Going to the combine and just watching killed me," Hurst said. "There was nothing I could do about it."
Despite missing out on opportunities to impress NFL personnel over the last three months, Hurst hopes to be able to rely on a substantial amount of game film as he started a school-record 49 games during his Tar Heel career.
"At the end of the day, these guys are going to draft off game film," Hurst said. "Everyone knows that. This stuff is important. They want to see how you can move, how you can run, how you can be coached. But at the end of the day, they want to see what type of football player you are. I'm lucky to have four years on film to show everyone what I can do."
One game may help more than any of the others. In UNC's season-opening loss at South Carolina last August, Hurst held potential No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney without a sack.
"When they ask you what your best game is and who was the best guy you played, that's the answer," Hurst said. "It's good to have that on film to show them that I'm capable of playing with those types of guys and that I definitely held my own. I was lucky to have that opportunity and felt like I took advantage of it."
Hurst is projected as a mid-round draft pick. The two-time All-ACC first-team selection is represented by Jack Bechta of J.B. Sports.