CFB Injury Report: Brutal Week for College Football Players
Lattimore's Knee Injury Headlines Rough Weekend in College Football
Football is a dangerous sport.
After all, when big, strong athletes are throwing all their massive force into hitting other big, physical athletes, injuries are bound to happen.
Fans, players, coaches – everyone seems to take football injuries in stride, because they occur so frequently. Even spectators with no medical training see them happen so often they can sometimes accurately guess what an injury is before the tests confirm it.
Untouched defensive back crumples on the field clutching his knee? Couch coaches know that’s a common sign of torn ligaments, maybe an ACL tear, probably season-ending. Better luck next year, they say, assuming, because of medical technology and the regularity of such injuries, that the injured player will be back to form ASAP.
Fans watch these injuries and think about how it affects the player’s season, and the following season, and what impact it has on their team. How injuries – even the most minor ones – will affect a player’s quality of life when his playing days are over is, unfortunately, an afterthought.
Some can’t be fixed even with surgery and the best rehab the football program can provide. Some are “fixed” for now, buying more time on the field, more hard hits, more opportunities to end up achy and crippled before one’s time.
Every so often, there are injuries that don’t just make us cringe. They make us gasp, look away, and send up a silent prayer as we remember, at least for a few seconds, that while football is entertainment, football players literally put their lives on the line every time they step on the field.
When South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore’s knee was demolished in Saturday’s game against Tennessee, the second serious knee injury he’s had in two seasons, it was a gruesome reminder of what college players risk every weekend for a free college education and a shot at making some money down the road.
Many who watched the injury as it happened or on replay wondered if Lattimore would
The official word from South Carolina is that Lattimore’s knee was hyperextended and dislocated (plainly obvious to anyone who could stand to watch), and that the major knee ligaments were damaged. He’ll have surgery, and it seems like playing football again might be an option for the talented running back – if he’s willing to put his knees on the line again.
Lattimore’s injury was the most difficult to watch and probably the most severe, but he was far from the only college football player to get knocked out of this weekend’s games.
Here’s a look at the key injuries from College Football’s Week 9. Sending positive thoughts and prayers to all the affected players for a full recovery.
Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Lattimore's horrific injury left the Gamecocks' star running back sobbing as players from the South Carolina and Tennessee benches crowded around him, praying for the best possible outcome for one of their most-respected peers. It was an incredible display of sportsmanship following a hit that forced Lattimore's knee to bend in the wrong direction, ending his season and possibly his playing career.
His knee will require multiple surgeries to repair the ligaments and a long rehabilitation process, but South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday that Lattimore would have the option to redshirt next season and play again in 2014. Whether he'd want to come back to school and risk another catastrophic injury remains to be seen, but Lattimore will have time to worry about that after he gets the proper treatment and rehab and gets back on his feet. Football fans across the nation will be cheering him on every step of the way.
Caleb Rowe, Maryland
Rowe, a true freshman, is the latest Maryland quarterback to fall victim to the AMQBHG ("Angry Maryland Quarterback Hating Gods"). He got the call against Boston College because the starter, and the backup, both suffered season-ending injuries a week ago. On the second to last play of his first start, Rowe sustained a torn ACL as he was tackled, and he, too, will miss the rest of the season.
Rowe was literally the only quarterback the Terps had left. C.J. Brown, Perry Hills, Devin Burns, and now Rowe all suffered season-ending injuries (three ACLs, one Lisfranc).
The chain of injuries is so unfortunate and bizarre, that, in light of Rowe's chipper postgame press conference, many thought the news was a hoax. This is real, folks: Maryland will hand the ball to a freshman, Shawn Petty, who converted to quarterback from linebacker less than a week ago.
Joel Stave, Wisconsin
Redshirt freshman Joel Stave didn't begin the season as Wisconsin's starting quarterback, but after he assumed the role from Maryland transfer Danny O'Brien, the team won six of seven games. (The only loss came when Stave was injured and O'Brien had to finish the game.)
O'Brien who started the first two games, will have a chance to redeem himself now that Stave is out for the rest of the year with a broken collarbone suffered in the 16-13 overtime loss to Michigan State. It's his third broken collarbone, and he'll forego surgery after doctors said it would be too risky to try to rush to get back for a bowl game. Stave is expected to be back for spring practices.
Matt Scott, Arizona
Scott's injury was one of the controversies of the weekend. In the fourth quarter of the game against USC, he slid to avoid contact but was hit in the head by two Trojans defenders. The senior got up and vomited on the field, but stayed in the game and scored a touchdown.
Scott was examined after the scoring drive, reportedly vomited again on the sidelines, and was held out of the rest of the game. He should've come off the field immediately after absorbing those hits, and if the NCAA is serious about player safety, they need to address this situation.
Scott, who threw for 469 yards and had four touchdowns, will likely be fine and will play this week, but the medical and coaching staffs need to do a better job of monitoring him this week than they did during Saturday's game.
Denard Robinson, Michigan
Denard Robinson's Heisman campaign might have come off the rails way back in Week One, but he's still accounted for two-thirds of Michigan's offense this season. Robinson didn't play in the second half of last week's loss to Nebraska after injuring his elbow, making it clearer than ever that the Wolverines can't afford to lose him.
He aggravated a nerve injury in his elbow during the game and was unable to grip the football, but is expected to be back in action this weekend. Robinson previously missed a quarter against Illinois with the same injury, and Michigan trainers are looking into protective sleeves to try to prevent further damage.
Sean Renfree, Duke
The senior quarterback was knocked out of Saturday's game at Florida State in the second quarter with a head injury. On Sunday, Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Renfree's status was unknown, but acknowledged that the quarterback had been sick and running a fever even before he was injured.
"After the combination of the fever and the hit, he’s what I would call better, but he’s sick so it’s hard to evaluate him. I know they’ve done all the appropriate testing at this point but I haven’t heard any response from the doctors yet," Cutcliffe said.
Renfree will need to be cleared by team doctors before returning to practice. If he can't play, backup Anthony Boone will again step in at QB for the Blue Devils.
Juwan Thompson, Duke
Quarterback Sean Renfree wasn't the only Duke playmaker injured against FSU. Running back Juwan Thompson was also knocked out of the game on the same drive in the second quarter. Thompson was taken to the locker room after a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit.
Florida State safety Lamarcus Joyner drew a personal foul for the play that left Thompson motionless on the field for several moments. He was eventually helped off the field and immediately taken to the locker room. Coach Cutcliffe said Thompson is "extremely beat up and sore" but his test results were good. His status for this weekend is also unclear.
Damien Williams, Oklahoma
Oklahoma's leading rusher was escorted off the field after taking a hard hit in the fourth quarter against Notre Dame. Coach Bob Stoops announced Monday that Williams sustained an ankle injury and will miss practice early this week. The severity of the injury, and Williams' availability for this weekend's Iowa State game, is still unknown.
Williams was held to just 29 yards against the Irish, but he led the team in rushing yards (552) and yards per carry (7.5) and had a 95-yard touchdown run earlier this month.
Mark Weisman, Iowa
AIRBHG is at it again. The force that has it out for Iowa's running backs once again went after Mark Weisman, the team's leading rusher. He left Saturday's game late in the second quarter with an undisclosed leg injury. Weisman has missed time in recent weeks with a sprained ankle, and Coach Kirk Ferentz says the running back's status for this week is still undetermined. Damon Bullock, who had previously missed several weeks with concussion symptoms, came into the game in relief.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
The Horned Frogs' quarterback left the game with an apparent left knee injury with 1:26 left in the 36-14 loss to Oklahoma State. ESPN Dallas reported that Boykin's left knee appeared to twist as he went down. Sophomore backup Matt Brown took over on TCU's final drive.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson declined to comment on the injury or Boykin's status. Boykin became the starter earlier this season after Casey Pachall left the program earlier this season to enter rehab.
Markus Wheaton, Oregon State
A hard hit from Washington safety Sean Parker appeared to knock Oregon State receiver Markus Wheaton unconscious, and the hit knocked Wheaton out of the rest of the game. The hit came as Wheaton was airborne to catch a pass, dislodging the ball, which was then caught by UW's Justin Glenn for an interception. Meanwhile, the intended receiver lay on the ground for a few moments before eventually walking off, escorted by the training staff.
Wheaton was on the sidelines in a hat and sweatshirt in the second half, and the Beavers have not released any updates on his status.
Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
Oklahoma left tackle Lane Johnson got up slowly at the end of the Sooners' loss to Notre Dame and limped to the locker room. On Monday, Coach Bob Stoops announced the lineman would sit out practice with an ankle injury. He hopes Johnson will be able to return by Wednesday, as the offense can ill afford to lose another O-lineman. The Sooners have already lost three offensive linemen - Ben Habern and Tyler Evans medically retired in the preseason, and backup Nila Kasitati tore his ACL earlier this month.