Quarterback Josh Nunes won’t have a chance to reclaim the starting quarterback spot, nor will he finish his career as a backup. The former Stanford Cardinal starter has elected to medically retire from football after an offseason weightlifting accident.
Cardinal head coach David Shaw had announced Nunes would miss spring due to a “freak occurrence” during a conditioning session but didn’t go into specifics, saying only that Nunes would be in a sling and that the accident was something that had never happened at the program.
In a phone interview with The Associated Press, Nunes revealed all the “gnarly” details of the ill-fated Valentine’s Day bench press. He recounted how he thought he felt a pop in his shoulder as he lifted the weight, and then dropped the bar onto his chest. His spotter immediately pulled it off, but the damage was done before the weight fell. Nunes had torn his right chest muscle and pectoralis major tendon on the lift.
The AP reported that team doctors performed surgery to reattach the tendon — who knew team doctors had that much surgical experience? — but Nunes has not yet been cleared to begin physical therapy. Recovery time was estimated at 12 months, max, but that was too long for the senior quarterback, who decided not to return to the football field and risk another injury.
“I’m going to need my right hand the rest of my life,” he told the Associated Press.
Nunes’ injury and subsequent retirement comes a few months after fellow backup Brett Nottingham announced he would transfer to Columbia.
A year after Stanford had a three-man battle to replace Andrew Luck, the Cardinal now has to hope junior starter Kevin Hogan continues to play well and stays healthy. Hogan, who gradually overtook Nunes as the starter midway through the 2012 season, will be backed up by junior Evan Crower and sophomore Dallas Lloyd, neither of whom has any college experience.