Just last year the NC State Wolfpack lost a staggering number of players to injury, including our three best offensive players – Anthony Hill, Toney Baker and Andrew Brown.
This year, Toney Baker has already been sidelined with another knee surgery and has no scheduled return date; and Andre Brown hasn’t practiced with the squad in recent memory.
So, it should only be consistent that it was announced on Friday that the Wolfpack’s best returning wide receiver is out for the season with a hairline fracture of his spine. #80, Donald Bowens will miss the 2008 season with the freak injury. (Link)
“Bowens is out – he’s done,” O’Brien said. “He’s got a fractured spine… well not a fractured spine I said that wrong. He has a hairline fracture. So he’s out for the year.”
As a sophomore, Bowens posted the team’s best reception average at 15 yards per catch. He totaled 41 receptions for 598 yards and three touchdowns. Bowens had a breakout performance in his start against Virginia, recording 11 catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns. Those were the top marks ever posted by a NC State sophomore.
If there is any silver lining to this story it would be that Bowens has not yet red-shirted so he will still have two years of eligibility remaining (if he can ever play football again). Those two years will match themselves with the play of a more experienced quarterback both/either Russell Wilson and/or Mike Glennon should be more comfortable under center in 2009 and 2010 than they are this season. Additionally, State’s offensive line should be in better shape in the future as opposed to Coach O’Brien’s second season.
Including JUCO transfer and projected starting safety, Clem Johnson, State now has lost at least three projected starters from this year’s team and two weeks remain until the season opener at South Carolina.