Texas loses TE Grant for season

Texas redshirt freshman tight end D.J. Grant will miss the upcoming season for the Longhorns after an MRI showed damage to multiple ligaments in his left knee.

Grant was injured in the Longhorns' practice on Wednesday and will require season-ending surgery, Texas football trainer Kenny Boyd said.

Grant, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, originally had played wide receiver for Texas before moving to tight end during practices before the Longhorns' Fiesta Bowl game against Ohio State last December.

During a career as a prep All-American at LBJ High School in Austin, Grant produced 41 receptions for 1,142 yards and 16 touchdowns in his final two high-school seasons.

"We're disappointed for D.J.," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "He's worked really hard and was ready to compete for playing time this season. We'll miss having him out on the field but we will be there to support him throughout his rehab."

The injury is significant for the Longhorns because they have already lost one tight end with a season-ending injury earlier this year. Projected starter Blaine Irby was slow to recover from a dislocated right kneecap sustained in the third game last season and will miss the 2009 season.

Greg Smith has lost 30 pounds in order to be quicker with his move back to tight end after playing the offensive line last season. Other potential candidates for playing time include injury-plagued sophomore Ian Harris, converted defensive end Ahmard Howard and freshmen Trey Graham and Barrett Matthews.

"We'd like to find two or three who can help us and get us back where we can get more flexibility," Brown said. "After mid-season when Blaine got hurt, we were pretty much locked into using wideouts. We had to try to run the ball with people spread out all over the field. That's the difference in having a 250-pound tight end that can pound."

Tim Griffin covers college football for ESPN.com. You may contact him at espntimgriff@yahoo.com