Posted by Chip Patterson
Things just can't seem to go Boston College's way this season. ACC Preaseason Player of the Year Montel Harris has been "shut down," after re-injuring his left knee against in Saturday's 27-19 loss to Wake Forest.
"Montel had an MRI and he had a little swelling so we are shutting him down," head coach Frank Spaziani explained on Wednesday. "I haven't had time to discuss with Montel, but he isn't playing this week and next week we have off."
Harris was looking forward to the opportunity to write his name in the school and conference record books, staring down the top spot in career rushing yards at both levels. The senior missed the first three games of the season after undergoing his second arthroscopic knee surgery in a year before finally getting his first snaps against Massachusetts on Sept. 24.
Saturday's conference matchup against the Demon Deacons was Harris' first full load, and he delivered yet another 100-yard performance. Unfortunately, it was his final run of the game - one that made him Boston College's all-time leading rusher - where Harris re-injured that surgically repaired knee.
Making matters worse for the Eagles is the nagging ankle injury to backup running back Andre Williams. There are no certainties to Williams' availability for Saturday's showdown with No. 8 Clemson, leaving Deuce Finch and Tajh Kimble as the only remaining options in the backfield.
After a strong finish to 2010, the Eagles had high hopes for this season. But injuries and mistakes have plagued the team in their 1-4 start, and they haven't even hit the hardest stretch of their schedule. They only have next week's buy to break up a three road games against Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Maryland before returning home to face No. 23 Florida State on a Thursday night.
There are many (this blogger included) who believed the Eagles would ride the momentum of 2010's finish and utilize the four winnable home games at the start of 2011 to return to the postseason. But with arguably the easiest half of the schedule completed, it is going to take yet another miraculous turnaround for Boston College to be bowling once again.
The coaching staff is likely going to have to make some tough decisions regarding Montel Harris as well. With only two games of action, there is the possibility that Harris could apply for a medical hardship and return in 2012 for his final year of eligibility.
Shutting down your best player for the season could be viewed as a surrender on 2011 by the staff, and send a terrible message through the Boston College locker room. But if the chances of another re-injury are high enough at this point in the season, it might be best option. Not just for the future of the team, but most importantly for Harris' playing future.
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