Fingers Crossed

One of Florida State's biggest concerns heading into two-a-day practices next month is the status of the Seminoles' offensive line. The unit has gone from team strength to team question mark after losing four starters from last season. Well, the Seminoles absorbed a major hit Monday, when <b> Matt Heinz</b> was diagnosed with a pair of herniated discs in his lower back. Heinz talked to TheTerritory this morning about the injury and his uncertain future.

One of Florida State's biggest concerns heading into two-a-day practices next month is the status of the Seminoles' offensive line. The unit has gone from team strength to team question mark after losing four starters from last season.

Well, the Seminoles absorbed a major hit Monday, when Matt Heinz was diagnosed with a pair of herniated discs in his lower back.

The versatile Heinz, who started at guard against Georgia Tech last season and was penciled in as the Seminoles' backup center to David Castillo, will have surgery within the next two weeks.

In an interview with TheTerritory Tuesday morning, Heinz, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound redshirt sophomore from North Florida Christian, says the injury's severity won't be known until his surgical procedure.

The best-case scenario is a return within six to eight weeks. There's also a worst-case scenario as well.

"I was talking to my girlfriend last night and I told her everything happens for a reason," Heinz said.

"The doctor told me I have a good chance of coming back quickly. But he also told me it could be three months, six months, a year or this could be potentially a career-ending injury. We just don't know right now. They are going to do in and see what the problem is and fix it at the same time. But I am thinking positive and I will be back."

Heinz, considered one of the unit's most athletic players, believes his injury stems from weight training. A recent MRI revealed the damage.

"I think it (injury) is probably from the pounding of weight training and the length of my back -- I have a long spine," Heinz said. "I think everything just added up. I knew the pain was different than just a regular back spasm. It (pain) was shooting down my leg as well. I have two (herniated discs) but one is worse than the other and that's the one they want to fix."

Heinz, who worked with the first- and second-teams at split guard during the spring game, said he had been recently moved to center behind Castillo. Former Lincoln High standout Andrew Henry-Kennon also is listed at center, but there is concerns about his progress.

Tight guard Bobby Meeks, who also experience at center, may very well provide needed depth at that slot. Eric Broe also is expected to contribute at tight guard as well.

Despite concerns, Heinz believes FSU's offensive line will be just fine this season. Plenty of optimism is coming from returning players. In tackles Ray Willis and Alex Barron, FSU has two players who combined for 13 starts last season. Castillo and Meeks each have starting experience as well.

"The offensive line, we've been kind of looked upon as the weak link this year," Heinz said.

"We've kind of been the shadows and we are looking to be in the spotlight. My injury is going to hurt us a little with (depth), but I think our guys will be fine. Everyone is really working hard and looking forward to the start of (practice). I am still going to be out there pulling for everyone."


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