Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Recapping the Big Ten injury/health news
By Adam Rittenberg
There has been quite a bit of news on the health front around the Big Ten today, and unfortunately several players are done for 2010.
To recap some of the major injury/health stories:
Purdue wide receiver Keith Smith
The bad news: Smith will miss the remainder of the season after tearing both the ACL and MCL in his right knee during Saturday's win against Western Illinois. Purdue feared a serious injury following the game but got the official word early Tuesday after Smith underwent an MRI. Smith was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2009 and led the league in both receiving yards (1,100) and receptions. He leads the league with 18 receptions through the first two games. Needless to say, it's a major loss for Purdue and a rough situation for Smith, one of my favorite players to cover in the league.
The quote: "He was one of our best players, one of the best players in the country at his position, so it's a tough setback when you lose that quality of a player. You lose his presence on the field, but he can still help us a bunch from a leadership standpoint. It's a big loss, and the team's very upset about it." -- Boilers coach Danny Hope
What's next: Smith must decide if he'll pursue an NFL career or apply for a sixth year of eligibility. Hope expects Justin Siller and Antavian Edison to help fill the void on offense, and Purdue has quite a few options at receiver, including promising young players O.J. Ross and Gary Bush. "It's the one place on our football team going into this season that we have some pretty good depth," Hope said.
Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker
The bad news: Parker isn't expected to be with No. 9 Iowa for this week's game at No. 24 Arizona (ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET) after recently being hospitalized with back pain. Parker, a diabetic, has been hospitalized several times in the last few years and had to spend the second half of the 2009 season coaching from the press box. Coach Kirk Ferentz said Parker, 68, is still receiving care, and "it's doubtful" the veteran assistant will be in Tucson.
The quote: "It’s like a football team. We're better off when we have all our best players with us, and Norm is a critical cog of our operation. … The good news is we've got a veteran staff. Guys work extremely well together. They'll just grab a little bit more of the responsibility. We'll find a way to get it done. We'd certainly all prefer that Norm was with us, and we hope he'll be back with us soon." -- Kirk Ferentz
What's next: Linebackers coach Darrell Wilson handled defensive play-calling duties against Iowa State and likely will do the same at Arizona.
Ohio State strong safety C.J. Barnett
The bad news: Barnett likely will miss the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury late in the third quarter Saturday against Miami. Coach Jim Tressel said Barnett, who started the first two games, needs surgery on the knee. Barnett was a somewhat surprising Game 1 starter after overtaking a banged-up Orhian Johnson in camp, and he made his presence known in both of Ohio State's first two games.
The quote: "He's a true sophomore and had some special teams time last year and took advantage of an opportunity. … He really impressed all of us and played very well those first couple games. We really hate to lose him because I thought he was playing very physical and he was really starting to learn the game." -- Jim Tressel
What's next: Johnson has recovered from a pulled calf muscle that slowed him in camp and will move into a starting role. Johnson has had some impressive flashes in practice but lacks much game experience.
Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges
The bad news: Hodges will miss 4-8 weeks with what coach Joe Paterno called a "slight crack" in the lower part of the left leg. The sophomore suffered the injury on the opening kickoff of Saturday's loss to No. 1 Alabama. A backup outside linebacker, Hodges looked strong in the preseason and likely would have taken on an increased role on defense in the coming weeks.
The quote: "We're talking four to six to eight weeks, [the doctors are] not sure. It depends on how quickly he heals, but he’s going to be out for a while." -- Joe Paterno
What's next: Heralded true freshman Khairi Fortt appears in Hodges' spot on this week's depth chart behind Bani Gbadyu. Fortt and others will take on enhanced roles during Hodges' absence.