Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Unofficial Pac-12 Football Injury Updates
Pac-12 football coaches are cracking down on injury reports, and while the conference weighs the merits of instituting a uniform, league-wide policy, there are still injury concerns around the league heading into Week Four.
The Wildcats’ defense will go up against Oregon at less than full-strength. Arizona is especially thin at linebacker. Sophomore Rob Hankins suffered a concussion in preseason camp that forced him to retire from football, and senior Greg Nwoko, who switched from running back in the fall to add depth on defense, is expected to remain out with a hip injury suffered during camp.
In the current climate of closely guarding roster news, Cal coach Jeff Tedford is surprisingly forthcoming with injury updates. Linebacker Khairi Fortt, who transferred from Penn State, is still rehabbing from offseason arthroscopic knee surgery and has been ruled out for this weekend’s game against USC. Tight end Spencer Hagan is also out after injuring his knee on Saturday at Ohio State, but tight end Richard Rodgers, who sat out against the Buckeyes, might be able to return this week. The best injury news for the Bears is that senior offensive lineman Matt Summers-Gavin, who suffered a knee injury in the season opener against Nevada, has resumed practice and may be available against the Trojans.
The Buffaloes have some injury concerns (along with a whole lot of other concerns) heading into Saturday’s game against Washington State. Fifth-year senior safety Ray Polk remains out after suffering a high ankle sprain in the opener against CSU, and senior linebacker Doug Rippy is also out with a knee injury. Center Gus Handler did not play against Fresno State with an ankle injury, which didn’t help the Buffaloes’ already-struggling offense. On the bright side, they should have veteran cornerback Greg Henderson back from an ankle injury this week.
The Bruins announced this week that freshman corner Ishmael Adams, who played in the first two games this season, will miss the rest of the season to have shoulder surgery. Fellow freshmen Fabian Moreau and Marcus Rios, who started last week against Houston, will get more playing time while Adams uses his redshirt year to recover.
Star running back John White IV told reporters last Wednesday that he was “100% healthy” after injuring his ankle against Utah State, but he didn’t play last week against BYU. Instead, the Utes relied on a committee of running backs in the win over the Cougars. White may be available for the upcoming game against Arizona State, but don’t count on it until you see him on the field. Starting free safety Eric Rowe also sat out last week after suffering a hamstring injury against USU. Coach Kyle Whittingham hasn’t (and probably won’t) given any indication of Rowe’s status.
Senior center Khaled Holmes missed the Stanford game with an ankle injury – and the Trojans felt his absence dearly. USC needs him if he can play. If not, Abe Markowitz, who also missed Saturday’s game, should be available to play center against Cal. Kicker Andre Heidari is still out following knee surgery, so the Trojans probably won’t attempt any field goals. Tailbacks Curtis McNeal and Silas Redd each briefly left Saturday’s game, but both returned so they should be fine this week.
Coach Steve Sarkisian isn’t disclosing injuries, but offensive linemen Erik Kohler and Colin Tanigawa both missed last week’s game, reportedly with knee injuries. Kohler is said to have a dislocated kneecap, and there are concerns that Tanigawa, who tore his ACL last season, may have suffered another serious injury. Nose tackle Danny Shelton played only the first half against Portland State, but Sarkisian said Shelton will be fine and was just held out after halftime as a precaution.
Mike Leach says he won’t release injury information even if the league mandates it, so there’s no word on whether quarterback Jeff Tuel will play against Colorado, or if Connor Halliday will get the start again. And in typical Leach fashion, his announcement was almost more newsworthy than what he was (not) announcing.
Tuel, according to Leach, is “ridiculously healthy. Tony the Tiger would be proud to have him be in a commercial and have him eat cereal.”
But don’t read too much into that declaration.
“I’m not a guy who tells people the end of a movie if they haven’t seen it, so I’m not going to share it with you,” the coach said.