Virginia Tech has suffered four significant injuries to key players, decimating the Hokies' depth chart weeks before the team's season opener against top-ranked Alabama, according to an injury update published by the program Thursday:
- Presumed starting running back J.C. Coleman somehow sprained both ankles, the left one being of the dreaded "high ankle sprain" variety. His return for Alabama is in doubt: "We're hoping to get him back in less than two weeks, but that's very optimistic. We think he'll be ready and back in time for the Alabama game," said head trainer Mike Goforth.
- One of his backup, senior halfback Tony Gregory, tore his ACL. "His career at Virginia Tech is effectively over," said Goforth.
- Starting linebacker Ronny Vandyke is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Surgery is expected soon, and Vandyke is doubtful for spring football.
- Junior tackle Mark Shuman tore the lateral meniscus in his right knee and will miss 4-6 weeks. Shuman has torn the same meniscus before, but in a different location. Regardless, the backup tackle will not be available for Alabama.
- Another backup tackle, sophomore Augie Conte, sprained his left ankle but appears to be OK for the opener. So at least there's that.
For an offense that was likely to be predicated on the running game, losing two running backs could be disastrous. Needless to say, the mass injury event has left Hokie fans shocked and diminished somewhat lofty preseason expectations:
So yeah, that 9-win season I would settle for probably just became best case scenario.— GobblerCountry.com (@gobblercountry) August 15, 2013
Virginia Tech and Alabama face off in the Georgia Dome on August 31 at 5:30 p.m. ET, live on ESPN.