Virginia Tech Running Back Darren Evans Out for the Year With Torn ACL in Left Knee
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 11 -- Running back Darren Evans crumpled to the ground Friday with a left knee injury that looked scary but was not thought to be serious. That changed Tuesday.
Evans will miss the upcoming season after he slipped while making a cut in a pass-catching drill and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee. Trainer Mike Goforth said the ligament tear was probably linked to Friday's knee injury.
"That's a good conclusion to come to," Goforth said in a telephone interview. "More than likely, he had a partial tear the other day and just tore it today. When you have an ACL, whether its partial or not, you have to have it fixed."
Evans, a redshirt sophomore who was the Hokies' leading rusher last year, rushed for 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns last season and was named the most valuable player in the Hokies' Orange Bowl victory over Cincinnati. He became the first Virginia Tech freshman -- and the sixth freshman in ACC history -- to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.
His absence alters the makeup of Virginia Tech's offense, which has relied on a rushing attack in lieu of a viable passing game. Coach Frank Beamer said he hoped to use a stable of runners, as he has in past seasons, to carry the ball in the coming year. A powerful runner, Evans was seen as a complement to shifty redshirt freshman Ryan Williams.
Despite the Hokies' talent at running back, they are inexperienced. The three remaining options at the position have a combined 38 career carries, all of them belonging to redshirt sophomore Josh Oglesby.
Oglesby was listed second on the depth chart because Williams reported to preseason practices out of shape. Williams, who starred in spring practices, should have his opportunity to play a big role after redshirting last year. Freshman David Wilson, another running back in the mix, has likely been spared a redshirt year. He was among the nation's top recruits in high school and has flashed his speed preseason practices.
On Friday, Evans injured his knee when he stepped on a teammate's foot. He was evaluated but did not receive an MRI exam because there did not seem to be structural damage.
"He's so big and strong," Goforth said. "His muscles are so toned they compensate for any type of looseness."
Although Evans said he heard it "pop" when he crumpled to the ground, he said he felt better each day and returned to full activity on Tuesday. In previous practices, he wore a blue non-contact jersey and was limited in certain drills.
"I'm not cutting like I want to; I'm not moving like I want to," Evans said on Monday. "But it's has gotten a lot better. I'd say I'm about 70 percent."
After two practice periods on Tuesday, Evans trotted past Goforth and flipped a thumbs-up. Evans thought he was back to speed. But later he suffered the injury after he lost his footing while running a route later during drills.