Gore out with major knee injury

It didn't look good. And the worst has been confirmed. Sophomore Frank Gore, the University of Miami's projected starting running back next season, has a torn ACL in his right knee and his status for the 2002-03 season is unclear. Coach Coker weighs in with some specifics on his injury and what it does to the tailback position.

UM head coach Larry Coker said Wednesday night that Gore would undergo surgery later this week and added that even though he was hopeful that Gore would be available for the upcoming season, he did not want to speculate how much time he would be out until after the surgery is performed.

But Dr. John Uribe, who will perform the surgery, told a University of Miami school official that the injury was serious enough that Gore could miss the entire 2002-03 season.

Gore injured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee about an hour into practice Tuesday afternoon after a collision with sophomore safety Sean Taylor. Gore was carted off the field before returning with an ice pack on his knee and watching from the sidelines.

Gore rushed for 562 yards on 62 carries- a 9.1 average – as a true freshman last season had the inside track to start in place of Clinton Portis, who entered the NFL draft several weeks after the Hurricanes defeated Nebraska to win the national championship last January.

While it's a serious injury, we're hopeful that Frank can return for this season, but I wouldn't want to guess on when he might return until after the surgery," said Coker. "Frank's a great kid and he's really been a hard worker for us. I know he'll respond to the setback with renewed determination."

Gore had the three best season rushing in UM history last season. The 5-10, 190 pounder rushed for a career-high 153 yards on 11 carries in a 59-0 victory over Syracuse at the Orange Bowl. In the contest, Gore had a 77-yard TD run, the longest of the season for the Hurricanes. Gore had 124 yards on six carries and two touchdown runs in a 45-3 victory over West Virginia.

Gore, who holds the Dade County high school record for most yards in a single-season and career, was unavailable for comment, but his former high school coach Joe Montoya was upset upon hearing of the former Cavaliers potential season-ending injury. Montoya had been trying all Wednesday to find out the status on Gore, until a reporter reached at him with the details.

"If it's a complete tear then that means he would miss 6-8 months and probably," said Montoya. "The only thing I'm hoping for is that it happened early and Frank will have plenty of to come back and play."

Miami offensive-line coach Art Kehoe had left a message for Montoya to inform him of the injury Wednesday, although Montoya had spent all day trying to locate Gore with no luck.

"If you know anything let me know," Montoya said.

Coker also announced earlier this week that senior defensive end Andrew Williams has an injured knee cap and could miss a few days of practice. But Coker added that the injury would not require surgery.

MOVING UP: Kehoe, who has been with the Hurricanes since 1979, was named assistant head coach by Coker on Wednesday.

"Art's contributions to the football program as coach and a recruiter are well-documented. More importantly Art is a complete coach who understands the importance of not only being an athlete, but being a student-athlete," said Coker. "Art has a tremendous passion for the game of football, for the players and for the University of Miami."

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