Navy quarterback Kriss Proctor appears unlikely to play in this weekend’s game against Notre Dame after dislocating his left (throwing) elbow in Saturday’s 38-35 loss to East Carolina, Coach Ken Niumatalolo said Monday.
The senior was wearing a protective sleeve and had has arm in a sling while watching practice this afternoon, and although Niumatalolo did not officially rule out Proctor, similar injuries typically take one to three weeks to heal.
“Right now he’s probably questionable, so we’ll see,” Niumatalolo said. “It’s probably a long shot that he’ll play this week, but we’ll see.”
Proctor injured his elbow in the second quarter on Saturday when he landed hard on his arm following a late hit. The team’s leading rusher remained on the ground at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for several minutes before walking to the locker room. Proctor came back to watch the rest of the game from the sideline.
Sophomore Trey Miller took over for Proctor and after a few uneven series to start nearly rallied Navy (2-5) to a victory. Miller led three consecutive touchdown drives in the second half, the last of which gave the Midshipmen a 35-31 lead with 7 minutes 51 seconds to play.
Miller took snaps with the first team today and barring the unexpected is in line to make the first start of his career when Navy travels to South Bend, Ind.
“That’s going to be huge,” said Miller, who completed 5 of 12 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 36 yards on 13 carries in the third appearance of his career. “I just have to get prepared, practice all week. I’m pretty sure Coach is going to have a good scheme for us. I know Kriss is going to help me out a lot also.”
This is the fourth time Proctor has dislocated the same elbow. He said it happened for the first time in high school and then twice more at Navy, including Oct. 1 against Air Force this season. During that game, Proctor had his elbow reset and helped Navy rally to force overtime before finally losing, 35-34.
On Saturday against the Pirates, Proctor also has his elbow reset during the game, and there was some thought he might be able to re-enter. Navy stuck with Miller, though, and he directed touchdown drives of 73, 70 and 65 yards in the second half. The second two touchdowns came via passes of 59 yards to wide receiver Brandon Turner and 37 yards to wide receiver Matt Aiken.
But East Carolina strung together a 77-yard scoring drive capped by running back Reggie Bullock’s three-yard run for the final margin with 2:14 to play.
The Midshipmen then took possession at their 28, and in the final two minutes, Miller drove to the Pirates 33-yard line. On second and 10, Miller threw a pass to Aiken at the 2, and the sophomore appeared to make the catch and push the ball across the goal line in mid-air before hitting the ground hard and losing possession.
Officials, however, ruled incomplete, saying Aiken failed to complete the catch when he lost the ball in the end zone. Navy lost its final timeout in a failed challenge, and on third down, Aiken caught an eight-yard pass from Miller.
The Midshipmen rushed their field goal team onto the field in the final 20 seconds, and Jon Teague’s 42-yard try hit the right upright as time expired to sent Navy to its fifth straight loss.
“It would be extremely disappointing, but you’ve got to see what’s best for the team,” Proctor said of the possibility of being out for Notre Dame, which Navy has beaten in three of the last four meetings. “If I can’t go, I’ve just got to Trey ready and take it from there.”
Proctor is receiving treatment on the elbow and meeting with doctors several times daily. It’s unclear if or when Proctor will be cleared to resume football activity, and Niumatalolo said although it wouldn’t be ideal, Proctor could play even without practicing this week.
The more probable scenario would have Proctor out until at least Nov. 11, when Navy plays Southern Methodist. That means Proctor would miss the final home game for the senior class on Nov. 5 against Troy.
“The thing that we’re concerned about is the kid’s been battling,” Niumatalolo said. “I mean he came back pretty quick from the last one. Just concerned that if he comes back quick, will it pop out again? You’re also concerned about the kid’s long-term health.”