The Washington Post

Injuries mount at Virginia Tech training camp

“If I’m still on the pace I’m at right now, I should be available,” D.J. Coles said of his readiness for Virginia Tech’s season opener. “When the time gets here, we’ll see what happens.” (Kevin C. Cox/GETTY IMAGES)

UPDATE 6:45 p.m. — Virginia Tech announced Monday evening that linebacker Tariq Edwards did, in fact, have a screw removed from his knee to alleviate pain caused by offseason shin surgery. He will miss a week of practice.

In addition, the official diagnosis on offensive lineman Nick Acree’s knee injury is that he suffered a torn ACL, torn medial meniscus and a sprained MCL in the team’s mini-scrimmage on Sunday. He will undergo surgery in the next two weeks and miss the entire 2012-13 season.

The news on left guard David Wang, however, is much better. His ankle sprain is not as bad as originally feared and he could be back to full health in time to participate in Virginia Tech’s open scrimmage at Lane Stadium Saturday afternoon.


Virginia Tech wide receiver D.J. Coles stood without a knee brace during the team’s annual media day Saturday, detailing the sort of pain he endured during Sugar Bowl practices as he played through a torn PCL last year.

He had suffered a partial tear as a sophomore and then re-injured himself during the Hokies’ ACC championship game loss to Clemson. When the bowl game came around, though,“I just sucked it up and tried to go out there and help my team.” He finished with two catches for 31 yards.

As for whether he’ll be ready to play when Virginia Tech takes the field in three weeks against Georgia Tech, Coles offered a less definitive answer.

“If I’m still on the pace I’m at right now, I should be available,” he said. “When the time gets here, we’ll see what happens.”

Unfortunately for the Hokies, that has emerged as a theme of sorts entering their second week of training camp.

After opening the preseason worried about the status of Coles and linebacker Tariq Edwards, the injury situation hasn’t gotten any better for Virginia Tech. During Saturday’s practice, the Hokies saw starting left guard David Wang (Stone Bridge) go down with a sprained left ankle.

Coming back from foot surgery, Wang was in a green jersey (no contact) when the Hokies held a closed mini-scrimmage Sunday. Redshirt sophomore Matt Arkema took first-team snaps in Wang’s absence.

Even worse, Edwards’s injury isn’t getting better. Head athletic trainer Mike Goforth said Saturday that team surgeon Marc Siegel would be taking a look at Edwards’s knee to determine if he needed a screw removed to help his recovery.

Edwards had a rod inserted into his leg in March after suffering a stress fracture in his shin last season, but Goforth said Saturday his recovery has “plateaued since we got out here” for training camp.

Though Edwards has not been ruled out of the Georgia Tech game, defensive coordinator Bud Foster is not counting on him playing. He has spent all of training camp using redshirt senior Bruce Taylor at Edwards’s backer position, while redshirt junior Jack Tyler mans the middle linebacker spot.

But they aren’t the only players hobbled by injury thus far. Offensive tackle Nick Acree suffered a knee injury during Sunday’s scrimmage and will have an MRI exam taken Monday. In addition, defensive tackle Luther Maddy, running back Chris Mangus, defensive lineman Justin Taylor, place kicker Brooks Abbott, cornerback Donaldven Manning and offensive lineman Adam Taraschke were all in limited contact jerseys over the course of the weekend.

The team’s official Twitter account said Sunday’s daily injury report included 14 players with some kind of hamstring injury.

For Coles, a redshirt senior, the uncertainty has led to some nerves. He patiently waited his turn behind record-setting wide receivers Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin, quietly putting up career numbers last year when he finished with 36 catches, 480 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Now, though, he’s relegated to waiting some more as his knee returns to full health.

“I’m really anxious. This is what you come to college for – to start and make big plays,” Coles said. “You’ve just got to look at the big outcome and take it one day at a time.”

Mark Giannotto is a Montgomery County native who covers high school sports for The Washington Post. He previously covered Virginia and Virginia Tech football for five years.


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