Derting's outlook cloudy

PULLMAN -- Less than a week into fall camp, Washington State's defense has sustained a crippling blow. Star middle linebacker <b>Will Derting</b> <i>could</i> be shelved for much of the season after dislocating his left wrist in a scrimmage Sunday. Doctors are putting the wrist in a cast and plan to remove it in two weeks to determine next steps and his ability to get back on the field.

One person close to the program told CF.C, "We're crossing our fingers on this -- the New Mexico game seems like a stretch no matter what, but maybe Colorado or Idaho. We'll just have to see."

While WSU is being careful not to make a forecast on Derting's status -- either for the season opener at New Mexico on Sept. 3 or the entire season -- a little research of football injuries indicates that dislocated wrists can require up to 12 weeks to heal. For the record, 12 weeks from yesterday is Nov. 14 – six days before the Apple Cup.

Derting, from Okanogan County, underwent multiple x-rays and a CAT scan Monday after having the injury reduced following the scrimmage Sunday.

Derting, a fourth-year junior who received a medical redshirt in 2001 after going down with a knee injury in the season opener, is expected to contend for All-America honors. He already is on the watch list for the Butkus Award, given annually to the nation's top linebacker.

With Derting on the sidelines, the Cougars today moved starting strongside linebacker Scott Davis (5-11, 230) to the middle. Sophomore Steve Dildine (6-1, 225), locked in a battle with senior Pat Bennett (6-0, 224) for the starting outside spot on the weakside, has been moved into Davis' usual spot on the strongside.

Brian Hall (6-2, 235) figures to be the first guy off the bench at all three linebacking positions. The Cougars' depth after him gets mighty inexperienced mighty quick. There are four true freshmen -- Steffan Blume, Jed Collins, Alex Hamill and Bryan Baird – and two walk ons who saw mop up duty a year ago, senior Brian Winter of Tacoma and sophomore Chris Baltzer of Eugene.

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