Oregon State already knew it would be down one Rodgers when star tailback Jacquizz Rodgers took his 3,877 career rushing yards and 46 touchdowns to the NFL a year early. But Mike Riley and the Beavers still expected to be able to rely on receiver/returner extroadinaire (and Jacquizz brother) James Rodgers, the preseason All-American who was lost for 2010 with a Week 5 knee injury against Arizona. Despite playing in a higher percentage of the season's games than typically allowed for a medical waiver, Rodgers was granted a fifth year of eligibility in January thanks to having not taken a redshirt year.
But will Rodgers even be able to use it? The answer is in doubt after the Oregonian reported that Rodgers has undergone a second surgery on the knee:
Rodgers' mother, Tasha Williams, said by phone Tuesday that as far as she knew, the surgery went well ...We obviously wish Rodgers the best of luck in his recovery efforts, but certainly not as hard as Riley's wishing; without James (and with Rodgers nursing his own injuries), the Beaver offense cratered down the 2010 stretch run, scoring 20 or fewer points in four of their last five games. With neither brother on hand, Riley (who the Oregonian notes has already made comments that might indicate he's not planning on having James available) could have a hard time finding enough playmakers to keep the heat off of quarterback Ryan Katz.
It has been the elephant in the coaches' offices at the Valley Center this winter: will Rodgers be able to play again? Will he be the same player who was one of the top receiver-kick returners in the nation? And if he can't play, will he end up being a GA, or an unpaid volunteer coach this coming season instead of the team's go-to offensive threat? ...
Nothing is for certain except the fact Rodgers faces a long rehabilitation process to try and get back on the field.
It's not a stretch to say the difference between a return to the Beavers' typical form under riley and a second straight bowlless disappointment might be how well Rodgers' knee recovers this offseason.