A collective hush came over the Alabama Crimson Tide football world in the last 24 hours when it was learned Heisman Trophy winner and star tailback Mark Ingram suffered a left knee injury in practice Monday.
While no one in Tuscaloosa is saying the injury is severe, Ingram, who helped lead the Crimson Tide to a 14-0 campaign and the national championship last season, is out at least for this Saturday’s home opener against San Jose State (6 p.m. CST).
Saban commented in a statement that Ingram had an arthroscopic procedure Tuesday and should make a full recovery in a “relatively short time.”
“Mark will definitely be out for this week’s game against San Jose State and we will manage this on a week to week basis beyond this week,” Saban remarked.
With Ingram on the shelf at least for now, the running duties will turn to sophomore Trent Richardson, who rushed for 751 yards and scored eight touchdowns last season, including 109 yards and a 49-yard touchdown against Texas in the national title game in Pasadena. Both Richardson and Ingram were tabbed as pre-season first-team all-Southeastern Conference tailbacks.
Ingram became Alabama’s first Heisman winner as a sophomore after rushing for a school-record 1,658 yards. He’s the first running back since Pittsburgh’s Tony Dorsett in 1976 to capture both a Heisman and a national title in the same campaign.
Asked Monday if he thought Alabama could have a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, Ingram told the media, “Yeah, definitely. I think it’s a definite possibility, but our main goal is to do whatever we can to help this team win. We’re not really focused on stats. We’re focused on executing our assignments, playing the best football we’re capable of playing week in and week out and help this team win games. Stats really isn’t an issue or something we’re focused on.”
Should something unfortunate happen to Richardson while Ingram is out, redshirt freshman Eddie Lacy is listed as the third-teamer.
While Alabama must replace nine key members of the defense from last season’s championship team, having to replace Mark Ingram for an extended period of time could be problematic to say the least. Then again, the nation may just get to see who Trent Richardson really is should Ingram need more time to recover.
Either way, ‘Bama fans will certainly be hoping that a young defense matures sooner rather than later.
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Written by Dave Thomas