Training camp for the Virginia Tech football team doesn’t begin until Thursday, but already the Hokies find themselves navigating through a few nagging offseason injuries.
The most serious of the ailments belongs to starting right tackle Blake DeChristopher, who will miss four to six weeks after straining his left pectoral muscle, head athletic trainer Mike Goforth said.
DeChristopher, who has started 37 career games and was named to the all-ACC preseason team last week, suffered the injury in the weight room while maxing out on the bench press.
Goforth said he does not expect DeChristopher to miss any games and called the estimate for his return “pretty conservative.”
“I’d like to think we get him back sooner than that,” Goforth said.
To help treat the injury, DeChristopher has undergone platelet-rich plasma therapy — a procedure used recently by Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods, among others, in which a patient’s blood is injected directly into their injured area to help regenerate ligament and tendon fibers.
But DeChristopher isn’t the only offensive lineman who won’t be ready for the start of practice. Goforth said left guard Greg Nosal is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and will be in a blue “limited contact” jersey to begin training camp.
Nosal missed spring practice, but Goforth said he has been cleared to participate in some drill work.
“It’s just a matter of getting him back comfortable with the punching and the explosive stuff that goes on in the trenches,” Goforth said. “We can do a lot of things in the training room and the weight room, but it’s tough to mimic that. . . . We’re gonna work him back in slowly. He’s really played hurt the last year and a half so we want to really make sure he’s healthy this year.”
Last year, the Hokies used the same five-man starting lineup along the offensive line in all 14 games. And though they’ve caught their fair share of criticism in recent years, the offensive line is considered one of the Hokies’ strengths heading into this season. Including DeChristopher and Nosal, Virginia Tech returns four of its five starters from 2010.
In DeChristopher’s place, expect either redshirt junior Michael Via or redshirt junior Vinston Painter to receive the first-team repetitions. Redshirt sophomore David Wang (Stone Bridge High) will likely take Nosal’s first-team snaps.
Goforth also said backup linebacker Jack Tyler will be in a blue jersey to start training camp. He’s yet to face hitting since suffering a stress fracture in his lower back during spring practice.
The only other injury of note belongs to back-up safety Theron Norman (shoulder), who won’t be ready to return to the field until at least the end of September.
The rest of Virginia Tech’s roster — including previously injured players like linebacker Bruce Taylor (shoulder), wide receiver Dyrell Roberts (thigh), linebacker Barquell Rivers (quad), quarterback Ricardo Young (foot) and running back Tony Gregory (knee) — has been given full clearance for training camp.