But he's still not really back.
"Presence, good. Mentality, good. Health, not good,'' coach Dana Holgorsen said of Alston now. "He's a different guy now than he was the first couple of games. He was more healthy than he was the two weeks prior to that, which is why he suited up [against TCU]. He'll continue to rehab and continue to work through it and practice more, but he didn't look the same, and that's why we didn't play him much.''
"I don't feel like I did going into the Marshall game,'' Alston said. "But every day is a work in progress to get it stronger and get it better. I'm still working.''
West Virginia's offense is certainly better with a healthy Alston on the field. Andrew Buie has filled in capably and even had a monster of a game at Texas with 207 yards. Dustin Garrison is improving each week after offseason knee surgery.
But those two smaller backs need more help gaining yards than Alston. Against Marshall he was moving the ball at times without much blocking. Nothing against those other two, but there's a reason he was the clear-cut leader at tailback going into the season.
Whether he ever regains that form, though, seems to be in doubt. It's not to Alston, because he has confidence. But he also knows how bad it was and what he's coming back from.
"It's like a buildup of pressure in your leg. I couldn't bend it back or kick it up at all,'' Alston said. "I had pain walking around. I couldn't really get up stairs. I had to turn sideways and use railings to help me up.''
Along with all the rumors surrounding his status, there was also talk about Alston perhaps just cashing it in this season and taking the redshirt year he didn't take as a freshman. He was under the limit of games when he went out. But that's no longer an option after he played against TCU, and that's just fine with him.
"If they had come to me then maybe it would have been something we could have talked about,'' said Alston, who already has his degree. "But I think everybody just agreed that if I kept working hard I'd be able to come back.''
And finally he is, although not at 100 percent. He estimates he's perhaps 70 percent of what he was at the start of the season. But he still thinks it's possible to get all the way back.
"My treatment regimen is crazy right now. I'm always in there,'' Alston said. "They put up a picture of me in there one day I was in there so much.
"I still have a little bit of lingering effects, but most of those are starting to go away. It's just the issue of getting the strength back and getting the mobility back.''
And erasing whatever karma lingers.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.