Looking for a bounce back season after a rough 2012 campaign, the Virginia Tech football team was on the receiving end of some bad news Thursday when head athletic trainer Mike Goforth released an injury update.
Two key players, offensive lineman Mark Shuman and outside linebacker Ronny Vandyke, were ruled out for an extended period of time.
Shuman, a possible starter on a volatile offensive line, is reported to have a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee and will need surgery to repair it. According to Goforth, Shuman has torn the meniscus in that knee before in a different spot and will have a four to six week recovery period. Shuman is expected to return in full.
Vandyke, a likely starter at outside linebacker, has a right shoulder injury that will require surgery. It will keep him out for six to eight months, meaning he will miss the entire 2013 season and is probable for the spring. Vandyke was expected to be a playmaker this year for the Hokies defense.
Backup running back Tony Gregory has re-torn his left ACL, effectively ending his career at Tech. Gregory was unlikely to play a major role in the backfield, however, he was a key member of the special teams unit.
Fellow running back J.C. Coleman has a left high ankle sprain and a right regular ankle sprain. The Hokies think he’ll be ready for the August 31 game against Alabama, but are cautioned that it is an optimistic projection.
If Coleman is unable to play in Atlanta, the Hokies will be down to just one eligible running back in redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds. Edmunds is currently the co-number one running back on the depth chart with Coleman.
Offensive lineman Augie Conte has a left ankle sprain, however the Hokies expect a full return. This is good news for an offensive line already lacking enough depth to move true freshman defensive lineman Wyatt Teller to offensive tackle.
With just under two weeks to go until the opening game in Atlanta against two-time defending national champion Alabama, the Hokies hope that this is the last bad news out of the trainer’s office.