PARKER CITY, Ind. (AP) — A school resource officer who was seriously injured when he tried to break up a fight among junior high school students in eastern Indiana is ready to return to work after a lengthy recuperation.

Craig Knuckles hopes to return to work sometime after a Monday doctor's appointment. The 35-year-old has been gone from Monroe Central Schools for three weeks, including a hospital stay of several days.

"It's been a long three weeks," he told The Star Press. “But my job is to protect those students/staff. I'd put myself in harm's way every time."

Knuckles, who's also a part-time police officer in Albany, suffered a chipped bone in his wrist, a severe concussion, pancreatic trauma, headaches and severe pain when was attacked by two students on Dec. 18 in a noisy auxiliary gym in Parker City.

He had stepped between three students — two girls and a boy — to stop an escalating fight when the two girls allegedly attacked him, said Superintendent Adrian Moulton. Knuckles was struck from behind by one of the girls as he was escorting the boy from the gym and trying to protect him from the girls, Moulton said.

The officer "was caught in the fire, in the middle of it, while doing his best to protect the other student," he said.

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