Virginia tight end Bruce McGonnigal, who was severely injured in a freak accident in October, will be unable to play in the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl, Virginia trainer Joe Gieck said yesterday.

McGonnigal, a redshirt senior, suffered a concussion and bruised his kidney and spleen on Oct. 18, when he fell down a concrete ramp searching for his girlfriend's deaf dog. A CAT scan performed yesterday showed that the spleen is not fully healed.

"The hematoma in the spleen is unresolved at this time, which makes his condition incompatible with competition," Gieck said. "The hematoma in the kidney, however, has resolved."

In the six games before his injury, McGonnigal caught 17 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns. As a junior, he was an all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, catching 42 passes for 634 yards and six touchdowns.

He has been invited to play in the Jan. 12 Japan Bowl and the Jan. 19 Hula Bowl. A decision on his status for those all-star games will be made later.

In McGonnigal's absence, Mark Cooke has started at tight end, and he is expected to do so against Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl. Aaron Mundy and Charles Keiningham also are expected to see some time at the position.