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Shipley's shoulder injury shouldn't cripple Texas' spring work

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Oft-injured Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley underwent surgery again Friday, repairing an aggravating shoulder injury that bothered him most of the 2008 season.

But this injury will be different for Shipley than those that kept him out of the 2004 and 2005 seasons and necessitated a rare sixth season of eligibility from the NCAA. As a matter of fact, his surgery might even have some long-term benefits for his team apart from him getting healthier.

Without Shipley available at practice this spring, it will force Texas quarterback Colt McCoy to work more with a young receiving corps.

The Longhorns already would be missing 2008 receiving leader Quan Cosby, resulting in one starting position open. But now, McCoy will be throwing to some largely untested targets all spring.

Players like Dan Buckner, Malcolm Williams and James Kirkendoll were going to have to step up to fill in for Cosby. But Shipley's injury will give his primary backup, skinny 170-pound junior-to-be Brandon Collins, a chance at more experience working with McCoy and with other starters in the Texas offense.

Williams showed flashes throughout the 2008 season, most notably his dramatic 91-yard touchdown grab from McCoy that helped push the Longhorns back into the Texas Tech game. And Kirkendoll provided the key play of Texas' game-winning scoring drive against Ohio State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, making a critical 3-yard fourth-down grab for a first down.

McCoy hooked up with Cosby for the game-winning 26-yard touchdown reception two plays later, but the late heroics never would have happened if Kirkendoll hadn't battled through defender Chimdi Chekwa for the first down.

It won't be the same for McCoy as having Shipley back there during spring practice. But it might be more beneficial for the Longhorns in the upcoming season to work with all of his receivers, developing experience and confidence with them that would carry over into the 2009 season.