- Mitch Sherman, ESPN Staff Writer
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The specifics of a foot injury suffered by former Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez, who missed nine games of his senior season last fall, were detailed by his father and a North Carolina specialist Wednesday after months of ambiguity.
The injury was diagnosed after the regular season by Dr. Mark Quist of Carolina Foot and Ankle as a "plantar plate tear of the second metatarsal phalangeal joint."
Martinez, Nebraska's all-time record-holder in total offense, passing yards and starts at quarterback, suffered the tear in the fourth quarter of the Cornhuskers' season-opening win over Wyoming on Aug. 31, according to Casey Martinez, the quarterback's father.
He aggravated the injury a week later against Southern Miss, Casey Martinez said, then took an injection prior to Nebraska's Sept. 14 meeting with UCLA. Martinez struggled with pain in the second half as the Bruins rallied from 18 points down and won 41-21.
Nebraska did not detail the injury in public, nor did it supply a complete diagnosis to the Martinez family, Casey Martinez said. The quarterback's father did not accuse the school's coaching or medical staffs of any negligence.
A Nebraska spokesperson declined to comment.
"I think Taylor wanted to get back and play as badly as anyone," Casey Martinez said. "They wanted him to play and expected to contend for a Big Ten championship."
Casey Martinez said he agreed with the coaches' decision to start Martinez, after six weeks off, on Oct. 26 at Minnesota. He threw for 139 yards and one touchdown but was ineffective as a runner and lacked explosiveness. The Huskers lost 34-23.
The game at Minnesota marked the final appearance of Martinez's collegiate career.
Redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong Jr. and senior Ron Kellogg III filled in to help Nebraska finish 9-4 after a Gator Bowl win over Georgia.
The Martinez family sought an opinion from Quist in December and received the current diagnosis. A similar injury forced Washington Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon to miss a portion of the 2012 season. He returned in 2013 and caught a team-record 113 passes for 1,346 yards.
Quist said in a typed message that Martinez's treatment has consisted of physical therapy, immobilization, use of a leg walker, injections, shoe inserts and medications. His pain has subsided, though Martinez's joint remains in an elevated state, the doctor said, leaving him vulnerable to tendinitis.
His speed should not suffer as a result of the injury, Quist said. When healthy during his career, Martinez was among the fastest players in the college game. He rushed for 2,975 yards in 43 games with Nebraska.
Casey Martinez said his son has trained at home in California after the Jan. 1 Gator Bowl. He's running and plans to start working soon with quarterbacks coach Steve Calhoun in preparation for Nebraska's March 6 pro day.
Taylor Martinez hopes to get a shot to play quarterback in the NFL, though he's open to other positions, his father said.
"We think he's going to be 100 percent," Casey Martinez said. "He's going to be amazing for March 6. He's going to shock some people."
22hEric D. Williams