RB Derrick Henry has broken leg

Updated: April 18, 2013, 1:43 PM ET
By Alex Scarborough | TideNation

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama tailback Derrick Henry, the No. 1-rated athlete in the ESPN 150 in 2013 and the Crimson Tide's top-ranked signee, is out for the remainder of spring practice with a fractured leg bone.

"Derrick Henry suffered a fractured fibula in Saturday's scrimmage and had successful surgery this morning with Dr. Lyle Cain," coach Nick Saban said in a statement. "With the support of our medical staff and the hard work and dedication Derrick has shown since he arrived, we are confident that he will make a full recovery for the start of camp this fall." 

Earlier Tuesday, Henry's high school coach, Bobby Ramsay, had said that the running back fractured his tibia.

The 6-foot-3, 238-pound early enrollee set the high school career rushing record at Yulee (Fla.) High in November, surpassing Ken Hall's previous mark of 11,232 yards.

He was one of seven freshman to begin school at Alabama in January.

According to statistics released by Alabama, Henry had been the team's third-leading rusher through two scrimmages this spring with 131 yards on 29 carries.

Saban and teammates had spoken highly of Henry before the injury, marveling at his physicality at the position.

"We were talking about it on the sideline -- me and a couple of the players -- how Henry looked like a bigger version of Trent Richardson," senior linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "... He came in and killed the first quarter program."

Said Saban: "Henry, obviously, is a guy that has flashed at times of being a big, fast, strong guy. ... Certainly is a guy that can help us in some areas of our team next year."

The loss of Henry hurts in the short term as Alabama was already dealing with the rehabilitation of two other backs this spring: Jalston Fowler and Dee Hart, both of whom suffered season-ending knee injuries during last season.

But reinforcements are not far behind. Not counting Henry, Alabama signed three top-10 tailbacks in the 2013 class: Alvin Kamara, Tyren Jones and Altee Tenpenny.

On signing day, Saban explained his reasoning for taking so many backs. And now that injuries have hit, it's easy to see why.

"We have one guy coming back that rushed for 1,000 yards," Saban said, referring to starter T.J. Yeldon. "We have another guy that carried the ball a few times as a freshman, and two guys that got hurt that may or may not be able to come back and play that position very well.

"To me, to have really good depth at running back, you need five really good players. Three of those guys usually play a lot, so I know in your guys' little fantasy football world you put these guys' names down, but there are circumstances. I think a lot of these guys are going to have a good opportunity to contribute next year."

Alex Scarborough | email

Alabama/SEC reporter