If you were at the game in South Bend last weekend, you witnessed a very morbid sideshow to the game itself, which likely was missed by television viewers. Throughout the game, a parade of Stanford's walking (or hobbling) wounded ran between the sidelines and the endzone tunnel to the locker room, as the training staff handled a deluge of injured Cardinal players. The good news was that several of the fallen returned to game action, including Colin Branch, Matt Leonard and Kwame Harris.
The bad news is that three did not, and they today present a range of prognoses...
- Craig Albrecht suffered an injury to his Achilles and is done for the season and his Stanford career
- Babatunde Oshinowo came into the game with a bad ankle, which he hurt that week in practice, and could not hold up. I would describe this more as an inability to play on a bum ankle rather than injuring an ankle, but the result is about the same. Babatunde is day-to-day right now, and truthfully it is too early to know if he might be able to play Saturday versus Wazzu or not.
- Nick Sebes injured his MCL and is out 4-6 weeks. The only good news there is that the injury does not require surgery, and simply needs time to heal.
This is all bad news. Sebes, although limited in his role and opportunities through the first games of this season, presented a real speed threat in a receiving corps that has not been able to burn flash paper this year. And when a group is struggling, the last thing you want to do is subtract an option.
Albrecht and Oshinowo are both nose tackles, and the third NT on this team, Trey Freeman, has not been a bastion of good health this season with a bum ankle. This position just got ridiculously thin, and it is already time to start thinking about who you can play to help out here. Based on a compact frame, leverage and strength, I would want to think about walk-on Chris Gaines, who has been a deep reserve at the DE depth, but he is nowhere close to being able to play the position. Ian Shelswell presents a massive physical frame and strength, but he mentally is still a long way away from being able to play even in specialist capacities. Keep in mind that he did not know the difference between offense and defense in football a year ago. He is very young, but I would go to Casey Carroll to move over from the other tackle. I think he could help spell Oshinowo or Freeman if the other gets hurt, though you are then exposing yourself at DT, where Matt Leonard can certainly get hurt at any time...
On an unrelated note in the injury department, I do not expect TE Matt Traverso to play again this year. His high ankle sprain could keep him out deep into November, and even with a full medical recovery, he would be out of practice and out of sorts to try and play the final game or two. The decision would be a no-brainer to keep him off the field for that finish, and get the medical redshirt. That consequently also means that you should expect to see Will Svitek at the #2 TE slot for the remainder of the season. I would expect Svitek back on defense next year, though.