The official word is out on Trinton Sturdivant's knee injury from yesterday. And the news is very bad. Sturdivant tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his knee.
It's not oftent that you hear of a triple ligament tear. It is, as you would imagine, a very gruesome injury. Speaking frankly, there was a time not very long ago when this injury was generally career ending. There are no guarantees now.
But others have come back from this type of injury. It is the same one that Miami tailback Willis McGahee suffered before returning for an exceptional NFL career. Robert Edwards actually tore all four ligaments in his left knee during that freakish flag football injury in 1999 before returning to the NFL and ultimately the CFL (where he was atwo-time All-Star). So it can happen.
There really isn't a "bright side" to this kind of thing medically, though. It's an awful blow for Trinton Sturdivant, his family and his teammates. Our thoughts here at Dawgsports go out to him.
This is, of course, a college sports blog. Therefore, we'd be remiss if we didn't look at this injury from a football persepctive. Longterm, it's slightly fortunate tht a) Sturdivant didn't redshirt as a freshman and b) the injury occurred near the start of fall camp. Trinton can now use his redshirt year to recover and won't lose a season of eligibility, unless his recovery stretches into the 2009 season.
That's made less likely by the fact that the injury occurred so early in the season. He'll have eight months to recover before the start of spring practice, which if all goes well could be all the time he needs. If not, he'll be able to continue his rehab over the summer and possibly be ready for fall drills in August 2009. That's a depressing timetable for him, I'm sure. But it is better than suffering the same injury in the fifth week of the season, thereby burning a year of eligibility and forcing the coaches to find replacement on the fly.
Speaking of replacements, sophomore Josh Davis is filling in at left tackle for the moment, but may not stay there. My guess is that Coach Searels moves Kiante Tripp over from the right tackle spot, then inserts either Vince Vance or Cordy Glenn at right tackle for the first game of the season. I think that with a right handed quarterback you need your best offensive lineman on the left, and right now that's probably either Tripp or the briefly suspended Clint Boling. Boling may end up in one of the tackle spots for the remainder of the season.
This also probably moves the chances of Ben Jones redshirting from slim down to none. If one of the veteran guards (Vance or Boling) has to move over to tackle, Chris Davis will almost certainly start at guard, leaving Jones as our best option at center. The only way this deosn't happen is if either Tanner Strickland or Justin Anderson steps over to left guard from right guard. There's also the possibility (raised by our intrepid correspondent Darius Dawgberry) of moving A.J. Harmon over to offense to provide depth. With Harmon nearing the goal weight of 315 pounds set for him to stay on defense, this move might only be necessary if we run into further injury/legal trouble.
The bottom line is that football is a violent game. People get hurt. Someone has to step in and step up. We're fortunate that we finally have some legitimate depth on the offensive line to fill in the gaps. But there's denying this injury really hurts. You don't lose your best tackle, the guy who has the most starts of any offensive lineman on the team, and not lose a step. But again, we'll work through it. Good luck Trinton. We're pulling for you. I'm off to listen to my copy of The Cure's Greatest Hits. Somehow it seems apporpriate. Until a brighter tomorrow . . .