During Stanford's second offensive series late in the first quarter, you could see redshirt junior wide receiver Evan Moore starting to limp around on the field. He left after that series and stayed most of the half in the locker room, hobbling back to the sideline only in the final seconds of the second quarter. Moore looked better coming out of halftime, jogging around and lining up for the Cardinal's first play on offense in the second half. Immediately after the play, he limped back off the field and never returned.
We talked afterward with the long-faced wide receiver to find out that what, when and how of this new injury. He told The Bootleg that the problem is the fourth metatarsal bone in his right foot, and it started days before the Navy game.
"It didn't happen on a play," Moore informs. "It's something that has been developing all week. It hurt pretty bad yesterday."
"They think it might be a stress reaction or stress fracture type of thing," he adds.
Those are words of horror to hear, and the look on Moore's face also reflected the fear. While the X-rays are negative, suggesting that there is not yet a fracture, there is still great uncertainty.
"I have to get an MRI in the morning," Moore says. "The X-ray didn't show anything bad, but sometimes X-rays don't show everything that is going on. We'll look at the MRI and see what happens."
Without imaging evidence, how then is this much already known about Moore's fourth metatarsal?
"When you push on it, it's extremely painful. When I toe off and put pressure on it, it hurts pretty bad," he answers. "I don't know what happened. They call it a stress reaction right now. Obviously worse-case scenario it was a fracture. I don't know, though. We'll see."
The problem started on Tuesday, with Moore hurting terribly Tuesday night after practice. "It felt decent on Wednesday, but it was still there," he describes. "Then Thursday it felt horrible."
Despite the difficulty during the week, Moore felt compelled and ready to play on Saturday. He had too much pain, however, in the second series. Then he headed for the locker room.
"They put a shot in it, so I came back for the second half," Moore says. "It felt not bad. I started running around and it felt pretty good. Then it started to wear off a little bit, and it was pretty painful again."
This is another potentially crippling blow for the Cardinal, who without Moore would already in September be down their three top receivers and the only three wideouts to record any college football receptions before 2006. Fifth-year senior Marcus McCutcheon injured his knee in the opener two weeks ago at Oregon and has been on crutches since. The crutches crew grew to two this week when senior Mark Bradford tore a ligament in his foot in the San Jose State game.
If Moore has a fracture, he would almost assuredly be done for the season. If he has just the stress reaction, he would have to stay off his right foot for a shorter time.
Major injuries unfortunately are nothing new for Moore. In his true freshman season of 2003, he started to click toward the end of the season. In his finest game of his young college career, Moore badly injured both his shoulder and his ankle on a long touchdown reception against Arizona State, part of an eight-catch 150-yard performance. He missed the rest of the season, condemned to crutches.
Last year, Moore dislocated his hip against Navy in the season opener on a play in the second quarter and had to be rushed to a hospital. For months lived with the fear and possibility of never playing football again, and he endured a long rehabilitation before being able to play this year.
Now finally healthy, 2006 was to be the big season for Moore. Instead, he is staring at his third major injury interruption in his college career.
"It's always something," he delivers disgustedly. "I'm just frustrated right now because this is worse than I thought it was going to be. I knew it was there, but I thought that I would be able to play. I thought it would be fine. This is just another blow."
"Hopefully it's not as serious as they think the worst-case scenario might be, but you just have to roll with it and keep going," Moore maintains.
For a hard-working player facing a third strike on the injury front, and an 0-3 football team searching for answers (and any good fortune), it may be hard to "keep going." The blows being delivered are becoming ridiculous, and the Cardinal are right now down for the count. They will be hard pressed to come up off the canvas if they lose Moore for any sustained period of time. Can you imagine anything else?
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our website, as well as our full-length feature articles in our glossy magazine. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up) and The Bootleg Magazine (sign-up)!