After an offseason filled with devastating injury news, Virginia Tech received even more bad news just days before their season opener against Alabama. Starting tight end Ryan Malleck will miss the entire 2013 season after suffering a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
The school confirmed the news with an official statement on Thursday evening. According to the release, Malleck will use 2013 year as his redshirt season. The team's medical staff will decide a course of action for surgery in the coming week.
Malleck started seven games and played in all 13 as a junior in 2012, making him the only player with significant experience at that position. His backups include two converted defensive ends -- Duan Perez-Means and Zach McCray -- and Darius Redman.
Virginia Tech already lost starting whip linebacker Ronny Vandyke and redshirt senior running back Tony Gregory to season-ending injuries. Offensive lineman Mark Shuman is also currently nursing an injured knee and running back J.C. Coleman has two injured ankles. Antone Exum, the Hokies' All-ACC cornerback, is still sidelined with a knee injury suffered during a pickup basketball game in January.
The injuries cause serious concern for Virginia Tech fans expecting a bounce back from last year's uncharacteristic 7-6 finish. After failing to record double-digit wins for the first time since 2003, Frank Beamer made some staff adjustments, like bringing in new offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler, but the injuries have made experience an issue for the 2013 Hokies. In fact, Virginia Tech's two-deep depth chart for the Alabama game includes 13 true or redshirt freshman.
Virginia Tech and Alabama kick off their 2013 campaigns on Saturday night in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.