From College News - Bad news gets worse for Oklahoma Sooners, as star tight end Jermaine Gresham out with knee injury.
Talk about adding insult to injury. Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford got hammered to the turf in the season opener against Brigham Young University, resulting in a sprained shoulder. Before that, tight end Jermaine Gresham had suffered an injury to his right knee. And while Bradford will come back from his injury at some point this season, the same cannot be said for Gresham.
The Sooners were made aware of Gresham’s news on Tuesday, when head coach Bob Stoops said that the tight end will need at least five months to recover from cartilage damage to his right knee. Arthroscopic surgery determined Gresham would need stitches to repair his cartilage, a long and rigorous process Stoops said would hurt the team offensively.
“He’s such a main target, presence on the field and quality player that it changes,” Stoops said, according to the Associated Press. “It changes everything, your run-blocking along with your protection, along with him out in routes and, in particular, red zone stuff. You just have to work through it.”
Gresham did not play in the team’s loss to BYU, but his injury was thought by many to have an adverse effect on the Sooners. After Bradford hit the ground awkwardly and clutched his shoulder as he was helped off the field, all bets were off in the Oklahoma locker room at halftime.
“It was a total morgue,” offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said to the AP Tuesday. “It was a concern. I was a cheerleader for 10 minutes: ‘We’re winning. Open your eyes. Get a little spunk here. Let’s go! This is why we practice hard, for great games. Let’s go!”
Wilson did say, however, that Bradford’s replacement, red-shirt freshman Landry Jones, was the one who finally spoke out and attempted to lift his team’s spirits as the second half was almost underway.
“He was the only guy in the locker room talking at halftime,” Wilson said. “He’s the guy that gathered them up, and a guy that hasn’t said much.”
Oklahoma has been in this situation before. In 2007 Adrian Peterson, the now-stud NFL running back, broke his collarbone and missed the entire season until he played in a Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State. But these latest sets of injuries pose an even bigger predicament for the Sooners to solve: their Heisman-winning quarterback and All-American tight end are both hurt for extended periods of time. Bob Stoops says the team just has to deal with the cards it has been dealt.
“In the end, our guys know. We expect whoever’s out there to do well,” Stoops said. “You have to move forward. Just like other injuries, someone else has to step up and play. That’s what a team does, and our guys are aware of that.”
By Nick Mordowanec