CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami has lost defensive tackle Marcus Forston for the remainder of the season because of a knee injury, the latest blow in an already-tough season for the Hurricanes.
Forston is the second defensive starter Miami lost for the year in the past week. Starting linebacker Ramon Buchanan sustained a season-ending right knee injury in last weekend's win over Bethune-Cookman -- and, just like Buchanan, Forston was hurt on a non-contact play.
The team announced Forston's injury early Thursday. In an interview on Miami sports-talk station 790 The Ticket, Hurricanes coach Al Golden said Forston would "come back fine" and was looking at a three-month recovery period.
Forston was one of eight players who was suspended for Miami's opening game at Maryland because of taking extra benefits from a former booster. In three games since, Forston had registered only five tackles, and his first-string spot for this weekend's trip to No. 21 Virginia Tech (4-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) was uncertain after Miami (2-2, 0-1) listed him and former defensive end Adewale Ojomo as co-starters on this week's depth chart.
Ojomo is a converted defensive end who weighs 265 pounds, about 35 less than Forston. Earlier this week, Ojomo said he doesn't believe his lack of typical lineman size would hurt him at the new position, where Miami has dealt with injury issues all season.
"I think it's more of a mentality than anything," Ojomo said. "I think I've got an edge with quickness and speed."
Miami will get standout safety Ray-Ray Armstrong back this week from a four-game NCAA suspension for taking extra benefits during his recruitment, and defensive lineman Olivier Vernon is expected to return later this month.
Stopping the run has been a major trouble spot for Miami this year. The Hurricanes rank 105th out of 120 major-college teams in rushing yards allowed per game (202.3) and 106th nationally in yards allowed per carry (5.0). And the Hokies have one of the nation's top backs in David Wilson, who is averaging 127.8 yards per game this season on the ground.
Forston is eligible to return to the Hurricanes in 2012. He had been planning to examine his NFL draft status after this season. It's the second time he's had a college season cut short by injury. He received a medical redshirt after playing only three games in 2009.