Jordan's season in doubt, says Doba

FANS OF CRIMSON AERIALS can still recall the sense of anticipation toward the tail end of the '03 Washington State season. Sammy Moore and Scott Lunde were graduating but Devard Darling would be a senior the following year. Some kid named Jason Hill hadn't caught a pass yet, though his athleticism was striking even then. But it was freshman wonder Chris Jordan who really had the Palouse abuzz.

Before Darling went pro (too?) early, before Hill turned into statistically the greatest wide receiver ever at Washington State, there was Jordan.

Everything he did that '03 season -- catching, blocking, route running -- pointed to future greatness, with some of the present day variety thrown in for good measure.

Then came an Apple Cup when the turf wouldn't give, so the knee had to. The lasting effects from that day stretched on until more than two years later, through Jordan's junior season. But it appeared earlier this offseason the football gods had finally relented. They would allow Jordan the opportunity to reach for, to grasp at the promise he once held as a redshirt freshman.

The swelling, the pain, they finally subsided for the first time since November of 2003. And his play this season was drawing interest from NFL scouts, Doba said.

The gods are cruel sometimes.

Or maybe one day Jordan's fall camp, for those fortunate enough to have witnessed it, or his three first half touchdowns against Idaho, for those who were not, will in retrospect be seen as a final gift from the deities. But not today. Today, it just seems pernicious.

The sprained knee of receiver Chris Jordan may shutter his senior season, Bill Doba said Tuesday.

"I think it will depend on how he feels, and maybe (he'd play) the last couple's entirely up to him. He could possibly be out for the season. The more you keep pounding on that thing, the better chance you have of developing arthritis," said Doba.

It has been known for some time Jordan will eventually need to undergo a "cartilage transplant" procedure after he's ready to hang up his cleats. The articular cartilage that lines the femur bone was also damaged when Jordan tore the ACL in 2003 -- something much more problematic than a torn ligament. These days, a torn ACL only costs an elite athlete six-to-nine months, maybe a year. But damage the lining of the bone and, well, Jordan's up and down odyssey speaks for itself.

Eventually, in order for Jordan to fully heal and after the cartilage cells are transplanted, football is out of the question, said Doba, for at least a few years. The coach of the Cougars said "10 little chips" were found during Jordan's latest arthroscopic surgery following the injury against Baylor. The original timetable following the annual Seattle game had Jordan out for 3-4 weeks, which would have returned him to the field in mid-October.

Maybe Jordan will surprise everyone, come back in a few weeks and his body will allow for a return on that resurgent path he started upon this season, although Doba didn't say anything today that would indicate that a likely scenario.

Tuesday, Doba indicated a return by Jordan sometime in November, or just any return at all, would be welcome news. The Cougar Nation can only hope the football gods agree.

DOBA ALSO SAID on Tuesday he was "satisfied" for the most part with the kicking game as a whole (punting, kickoffs, field goals.)

Loren Langley "Langley has gotten stronger and better on his kickoffs," said Doba.

Still, Doba has chosen to go for it on fourth downs twice when in field goal range.

"I just felt like we had a better chance," said Doba. "Right now, with our kicking situation...until the ball is on the 10 or 15, until Loren gets a little bit more confident -- you start kicking them from the 25 or 30 and missing them, I don't think that helps him."

It may have been, however, more accurate to say until Langley inspires some confidence in Doba.

"It's just like every receiver is wide open," said Doba. "Every kicker, I don't care if it's on your own 10, they feel they can make it...and that's the way he has to feel. I don't think he lacks for confidence, really."

So what will it take for Doba to go back to more of a conventional approach to field goals on fourth downs when the Cougs are say, around the 30-yard-line?

"When he makes all those short ones," said Doba.

NOTABLE NOTE: Fox Sports Net announced today that the regional network, FSN Northwest, will air the Washington State at Oregon State contest on October 7 at 4p.m.

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