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Triage Time: Yet Another Heisman Hopeful Injury


Even with a concussion, Keenum knows his TDs.

QB Case Keenum, Houston – Head

Case Keenum suffered a concussion while trying to make a tackle in the UTEP game and is listed as day-to-day. Allegedly his condition has improved markedly and he is relatively asymptomatic. The big problem is that he will be very limited in practice this week. While his back-up performed well against UTEP last week, with a new #23 ranking for the Cougars and a big game at UCLA this weekend, don’t be surprised if Keenum is in the line-up.

RB Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati – Knee

Pead was held out of last week’s game because of swelling in his knee which has been a problem for him in the past. Usually this is a sign of damage to cartilage (meniscus) , which probably means he is facing surgery after the season. Pead will likely be held out again this week so that he will have time to get additional treatment before the big Donor Appreciation Day game against highly ranked Oklahoma the following weekend.

RB Bernard Pierce, Temple –  Hand

Pierce suffered an injury to his hand against Central Michigan last week which has been described as “not serious”. Word from Philly is that he has returned to practice and will definitely be available this week against Connecticut when Pierce’s 4+ yard per carry average will be needed by the Owls.

WR Keith Smith, Purdue – Knee

Smith is out for the season after suffering an injury known as ODonoghue’s Unhappy Triad (sprains of the anterior crucial ligament, tibial collateral ligament, and tearing of the medial meniscus – cartilage). This injury will require surgery and months of rehabilitations. Once considered an automatic career ender, athletes who are willing to work diligently in rehab have been able to return to a productive level of play.

WR Juron Criner, Arizona – Shoulder

Criner suffered a “stinger” (brachial plexus injury usually occurring when the head and shoulder are forced in opposite directions) during last week’s game, but will definitely be available this weekend against Iowa. This injury usually cause a temporary loss of sensation and strength in the arm and hand which oftens returns to normal in as little as 30 minutes. The athletic training and equipment staff have made the necessary changes to the shoulder pad coverage area of the shoulder and Criner should show no ill effects of the injury.

RB Mario Fannin, Auburn – Shoulder

Fannin, a combination running back and receiver for the Tigers, suffered an injury to his shoulder that has been described as a “shoulder seperation” (actually an acromioclavicular sprain involving the ligament that connects the clavicle and the scapula) against Mississippi State. Fannin has been at practice, but has been held out of any contact work. With Clemson as the opponent this weekend, look for Fannin to play a limited role with his focus being shifted to receiver or H Back. Although it will do no further damage to the structures, a significant hit to the area will be extremely painful.

RB Robbie Rouse, Fresno State –  Ankle, Shoulder

Rouse carried the ball 20 times in last week’s victory over Cincinnati, but someone else will have to handle those duties this week against Utah State in Fresno’s WAC opener.  Rouse is nursing both a sprained ankle and a bruised shoulder. With two weeks to heal and rehab, he should be good to go for at least limited duty the following week. Returnees from ankle sprains usually experience no speed loss and the only problems occur when rapid direction changes have to be made. The shoulder contusion should heal fine and can be padded.

RB Derrick Locke , Kentucky – Elbow

Locke is listed as “Probable” this week for the Akron game after suffering a hyperextension injury to his elbow last week. This is an injury that can be braced for protection and should not hamper his performance, although he probably will not be called upon to catch passes. Look for Locke to leave the game early if the Wildcats are well ahead of the Zips

QB Cannon Smith, Memphis – Concussion

It has been a tough start to the season so far for Memphis with sizeable lossed to Mississippi State and East Carolina. The loss of Cannon Smith for at least the Middle Tennessee State game does not make the picture any brighter. Smith suffered a concussion against East Carolina and is not practicing this week because he still is exhibiting concussion symptoms. NFL and NCAA teams are under stronger concussion management directives this year which will benefit athletes by now allowing them back on the field until all symptoms have subsided.  This should help eliminate the incidence of second impact syndrome, a condition which eventually ended the careers of such players as Troy Aikman and Steve Young.

RB Joe Marinek, Rutgers – Leg

Martinek’s injury is actually to his ankle, rather than his leg as thought immediately after the game against Florida International. The injury is a grade 2 sprain and it is possible that with rest , treatment and rehabilitation, he could be ready for the next game against North Carolina because of the off-week this weekend. A sprain is graded 1-3 based on the amount of swelling, pain, loss of range of motion and loss of function. The ligaments have to rest and the secondary stabilizing muscles have to be strengthened for the player to make the kind of recovery necessary to compete in collegiate football. Look for Martinek to be available for limited duty against North Carolina and then ready to play with his ankle taped or braced for the rest of the season. Off weeks are a blessing for injury care.

WR Nick Toon, Wisconsin – Toes

Toon is suffering from turf toe and this is no laughing matter for a wide receiver who has to change speeds and directions rapidly. Turf toe usually involves forced hyperextension of the great toe and damage to the ligaments and flexor tendons on the underside of the toe (plantar aspect). Treatment involves rest, ice to relieve any swelling, and taping to limit extension of the toe. Toon will not play this week (he was also held out last week), but should be able to return the following week. Turf toe can be a recurrent injury and probably Toom and the Wisconsin athletic trainers will be treating this condition for the remainder of the season. It is not unusual for there to be some loss of speed and ability to rapidly change directions, both of which actions are required of wide receivers on every pass play.


Dr. Carroll is a nationally certified athletic trainer and athletic training educator for over thirty years with experience at the collegiate, professional and international levels. Currently, Dr. Carroll is a Professor of Sport Science and Director of the Athletic Training Education Program at the University of Mobile. Dr. Carroll is the author of several books on sports medicine and substance abuse in sports, including his latest book, The Carroll Guide to Sports Injuries.

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2 comments on “Triage Time: Yet Another Heisman Hopeful Injury

  1. [...] hate myself for saying this, but Mario Fannin may not be a terrible play if healthy enough to play.  Sure, he only has 78 yards receiving, but he’s been seeing a lot of action near the goal line [...]

  2. [...] Notes: Ball State returns 17 starters (10 offense/7 defense) and 47 letter winners from last year’s team that went 2-10 and 2-6 MAC…Senior RB MiQuale Lewis rushed for a school-record 301 yards against Eastern Michigan last year…Senior K Ian McGarvey led the MAC by making 18-of-21 field goal attempts last year.  Purdue finished 5-7 last year and lost at Notre Dame in the opener, 23-12 and defeated Western Illinois, 31-21 last Saturday…After moving from QB to safety and finally to wide receiver, fifth-year senior Keith Smith was the Big Ten’s leading pass catcher in 2009 (91-1,100 yards, 6 TDs) and has had at least one reception in all 25 games, but is out for the year with a serious knee injury called O’Donoghue’s Unhappy Triad. [...]

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