Purdue confirms Bolden has torn ACL

The news Purdue fans had been anticipating but hoped wouldn't come arrived Wednesday, as the team announced that starting running back Ralph Bolden has suffered a torn ACL in his right knee.

Bolden sustained the injury in practice March 31, and head coach Danny Hope told reporters Friday that it was serious and took place on a noncontact play. The junior will undergo surgery in the coming weeks (no date has been set).

Purdue isn't officially ruling Bolden out for the 2010 season, but he would need to make an incredible recovery to be ready to play this fall. Keep in mind that Bolden tore the same ACL in high school and was limited during his freshman season at Purdue.

The good news is he does have a redshirt year available, and I'd expect him to use it. Bolden ranked third in the Big Ten in rushing average last fall (77.9 ypg) and briefly led the nation in rushing. From talking with him last month, he had big plans for 2010, so it's unfortunate to see him go down.

“While obviously we are disappointed, we understand that injuries are part of athletics and not something we can control,” Hope said in a statement. “We feel for Ralph as a teammate and member of the Purdue football family more so than we do as a talented running back, and we will support him throughout his recovery. Ralph is a proven battler, and we know he will come back and be a key part of our offense in the future.”

The spotlight now turns to sophomore Al-Terek McBurse, a heralded 2009 recruit from Winter Springs, Fla. McBurse enrolled last January at Purdue but missed spring practice because of an NCAA clearinghouse issue. He had only four carries last fall at running back but led the team in kickoff returns with 468 yards and a touchdown.

Purdue doesn't have much proven depth at running back and recently moved Keith Carlos over from wide receiver. The Boilers could use former quarterback Justin Siller at running back if he rejoins the team this summer.

I'm supposed to talk with McBurse after today's practice, so check the blog Thursday for more from the Boilers' new projected starter.