Another year, another round of injuries

Un-f*ing believable.

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.

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'08 Football General

67 Responses to Another year, another round of injuries

  1. DuPack 08/16/2008 at 6:27 AM #

    Great. Toney Baker’s status unknown 2 weeks before the season starts; head-turning JUCO finished before he ever started; best WR on team done for the year.

    Deja-Vu all over again.

  2. Wufpacker 08/16/2008 at 6:51 AM #

    It wouldn’t be an NCSU pre-season without the usual rash of (season ending) injuries.

    I know other schools lose players to injury as well, but I honestly cannot think of another school that has been as snakebit as we seem to be, for such an extended stretch (what is it now? 6 years? 7?) in both major sports.

  3. Old School Wolf 08/16/2008 at 7:09 AM #

    The big silver lining is that Donald didn’t suffer a life altering hit during practice before the seriousness of this injury was identified. If Donald has to walk away from the game, thank goodness he will be able to walk away. Here’s hoping Donald recovers all the way and Tony suits up soon. Two high character men among many we still have good to go.

  4. Dogbreath 08/16/2008 at 7:13 AM #

    We are the perennial national champions when it comes to season ending injuries – and that is every sport at State.

    It is a roster requisite in women’s basketball that you have to blow your knee out before your eligibility expires.

  5. Dr. BadgerPack 08/16/2008 at 7:57 AM #

    That bites… State isn’t the only snake bitten school though; you should see what’s going on in Gainesville. While UF certainly has talent to come in and replace players (State’s biggest problem now), it doesn’t change the fact that they’ve already lost 5 players for the year- all with torn ACLs. Highly unusual to see 5 ACLs blown out in preseason freaking practice (including a sure fire NFL 1st rounder at the TE position).

  6. howlie 08/16/2008 at 8:22 AM #

    We’re okay. Show me a season-ending injury at LB, and then we’re muck-stuck.

  7. wufpup76 08/16/2008 at 8:58 AM #

    Unreal … I don’t know what we did, but we have the injury voodoo hex on us big time … We’ve had it for years and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon

    Every year – all major sports – multiple severe injuries … for what? 10-15 years now? Injuries are part of it, but damn … We even have so many injuries that assistant coaches have to practice just to have enough to run 5-on-5 in bball and even they get injured during the practice

    I’m sort of numb to this news as it is expected now … A surprise would be only one major injury per sport, not several …

    Like Old School said, at least Donald’s injury was discovered and he has a good chance at full recovery … All the best to him

  8. Octavian 08/16/2008 at 9:03 AM #

    This truly sucks but it’s part of the game and hey, let’s hope this thing isn’t life altering. Time for Geron James and Jay Smith to step up — they have loads of talent.

  9. BladenWolf 08/16/2008 at 9:40 AM #

    We’ll be okay. I have come to expect this injury bug, but O’Brien will keep ’em moving forward.

  10. sf59 08/16/2008 at 11:11 AM #

    also don’t forget that clem johnsom likely J-co starter at Safety is out the year w/ a broken jaw

  11. Bynum State Fan 08/16/2008 at 11:35 AM #

    This is just simply amazing. Year in and year out we begin our season with some sort of bad news. I hope he gets better for his sake, and if he does, the team benefits.

  12. Noah 08/16/2008 at 11:56 AM #

    Toney Baker is pretty much done. I do not believe he will ever return to anything more than a shadow of what he was.

    I also do not believe that Bowens will return, although it’s certainly possible. I know two people who have had that injury and neither was advised to ever return to playing contact sports. One was a wrestler, the other played football. In the wrestler’s case, even after giving up the sport, he’s had to have three spinal surgeries to correct significant problems because of such a fracture. You end up with bone spurs and they put pressure on the spine and cause unreal pain.

    Clem Johnson’s injury was enormous. He was not only going to be a starter at safety, but was our return guy as well.

    And even this isn’t the worst news. I may not even bother watching a single minute of this entire season after hearing the most god-awful news imaginable.

    Daniel Evans is going to be the starting QB. I would interpret that as a catastrophic failure by the coaching staff and by Russell Wilson, not as some redemptive effort by Daniel Evans.

    Everyone knows what Evans can do (little more than squat). Unless the surgery he had was some previously-unknown talent transplant, the reason for starting him would be….what exactly? No reason.

    We’ll have little or no running game this year. We’ll have no passing game. The defense won’t be as good…so, I would like to change my predictions. I think we’ll probably max out at 2-10. 0-12 is extremely likely.

  13. ADS95 08/16/2008 at 12:26 PM #

    Hey Noah, step back from the ledge a little bit…

    we’ll at least beat William & Mary.

  14. Delete-Me 08/16/2008 at 12:34 PM #

    Do you have season tickets? If so, how bout passing them on then!

  15. Afterglow 08/16/2008 at 1:11 PM #

    We’ll be fine. It sucks but that’s the nature of the game and as much as it feels like we’re snake bitten, someone will step up.

    I do believe in this coaching staff. I feel like they have the type of merit that looks at adversity as a challenge-one which they will inevitably defeat, finding a way to make it all work. If they’re really good (and I believe they are) they will find a way to turn the negatives into positives. I don’t know how they’ll do that because if I did, I would be doing something different if I did-but I think this is going to work out just fine.

    Thank God, Donald Bowens is ok-or as ok as someone can be in that situation.

  16. DAMangum 08/16/2008 at 1:27 PM #

    No need to be pesimistic yet, no time to preach doom and gloom. The season hasn’t started and we could quite possibly have players step up and fill the roles of the injured players. Toney Baker is by no means done! He did not have his knee reconstructed or anything, the last surgery was just to clean out debris not to repair anything. He told me it was nothing and that he is just fine.

  17. Noah 08/16/2008 at 1:53 PM #

    I believe in this coaching staff. I’m not preaching doom and gloom. I’m simply passing on what I was told.

    You may believe whatever you want, but I’m hearing the exact opposite information about Baker. If he’s fine, why isn’t he practicing? Why are they waiting so long before he takes the first hit on it?

  18. Octavian 08/16/2008 at 2:11 PM #

    Noah, I suspect the same thing re. Baker and knowing the type of injury, wouldn’t be surprised if Bowens is done playing the game of football.

    As far as Evans, this is…difficult news to bear. I just don’t see how DE gives us the best chance to win.

  19. Noah 08/16/2008 at 2:19 PM #

    My only hope is that the staff is simply trying to light a fire under Wilson. I do know that he came out looking good, but apparently fell of SEVERELY.

    Mike Glennon also looked really good at times, but not good enough to be the starter.

  20. BJD95 08/16/2008 at 2:37 PM #

    If Evans is the starter, then the staff has made the strategic decision to write off this season completely. With the crap OL and the injury bug striking, no sense in burning Glennon’s redshirt.

    Let’s hope TOB is indeed trying to motivate Wilson.

    On the bright side, it’s looking like I can watch Obama live and DVR the football game after all. You good folks will have to settle for a tape-delayed live blog.

    I do trust this coaching staff. It just sucks beyond belief to go into the coming football season and basketball season with no hope whatsoever.

  21. Noah 08/16/2008 at 2:51 PM #

    Everybody has injuries. Football is a brutal game. The odds AGAINST having injuries are astronomical. Florida has had five torn ACLs so far.

    The problem with us is that the margin between “average” and “holy god, do we suck or what?” is razor thin.

    And I should probably clarify…Evans has not been named the starter. I shouldn’t have said that. He’s moved into the lead to be starter and is getting all the reps with the first-teamers. But we’re awfully late in the game.

  22. b 08/16/2008 at 3:07 PM #

    I hate it for Bowens, he was the best WR we’ve had since Cotchery and would have had a great year. But we have some talent there, and they should be able to provide some offense.

    Hearing that Evans is picking up reps is distressing, but I’ll take it as the strategic approach. Get the Chickens thinking they get to chase a statue with a noodle arm, and then……surprise! Wilson starts. Please.

  23. Noah 08/16/2008 at 3:21 PM #

    Listening to O’Brien’s press conference from earlier today, he is a little worried about the experience at WR.

    I’m glad we’ve got Geron James back. Hopefully, Stephen Howard and Jay Smith will be able to contribute.

  24. DAMangum 08/16/2008 at 3:26 PM #

    I played football at a D-2 school and I tore my ACL and MCL. They take it light on you aslong as they can. They were just being cautious with Toney and then had his knee scoped probably due to swelling and found some debris, probably scar tissue. Then they decided to clean it out as quickly as possible. It’s not like he had major surgery again. I actually talked to him last week about it, so I’m not giving you guys hear say bull like most others on here. I believe him when he says he is going to be fine!

    Also, how do you guys know Daniel Evans may not be a good QB for us this year? We all know he is not a NFL QB but he has done alot of great things for us. His major problem last year was making bad decisions in critical situations. Another year under this offense may help him understand the situaiotn better and make better reads instead of throwing a pick. Daniel is about as tuff as a QB I’ve ever seen and I don’t want to see Glennon getting destroyed this year and lose his confidence. I would like to see Glennon red shirt and be the QB with better teams than we have this year. We have a shot at making a bowl and if we don’t I will still be there cheering either way, hopefully the rest of you will be too.

  25. Noah 08/16/2008 at 3:46 PM #

    So, other than a horribly weak arm and a knack for making critical, bad decisions…Evans is a perfectly capable QB?

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