Posted by Adam Jacobi
No program in the Big Ten has been hampered worse by ACL injuries over the last couple seasons than Purdue, so it stands to reason that head coach Danny Hope would be hoping to have a normal, healthy set of practices before the season this year.
Clearly, whatever cruel football deity is taking residence in West Lafayette has other ideas.
Purdue announced Wednesday that starting quarterback and co-captain Rob Henry tore his right ACL in a non-contact injury during Tuesday's practice. The extent of Henry's injury isn't yet known, but a torn ACL should be enough to end Henry's season before it starts; the real question is how quickly in the offseason he can get back to work.
“Rob Henry is a huge part of our football program, our heart goes out to him,” Hope said in a statement. “He was voted a captain by the team in the spring, and I know he will continue to inspire and push Robert (Marve), Caleb (TerBush), Sean (Robinson) and all of his teammates forward.” Marve, TerBush, and Robinson are all fellow quarterbacks.
The specter of ACL injuries haunts the Boilermakers' quarterback situation even past Henry's injury, though. One of the injured players last season was Marve, who began the season starting at QB before his knee gave way against Toledo early in the year. So while Marve would ostensibly be the new starter in Henry's stead, he's still dealing with soreness in his own surgically repaired knee, and told reporters yesterday he's trying to get his knee ready for conference play -- which, for Purdue, starts October 1.
That's not good news for a Purdue team that needs a quarterback a little sooner than that, so TerBush -- who missed last season to academics but is eligible and ready to roll this season -- is probably first in line for Week 1. Past TerBush, Robinson played in emergency duty as a true freshman last year, and he was planning to redshirt this season as the presumptive fourth-string QB. That plan, clearly, might need to be revised yet again.
The Boilermakers also still have Justin Siller, a senior wide receiver who was a converted quarterback, and who made one start against Michigan last season before (yikes) being lost for the rest of the season with a foot injury on the first play from scrimmage. At this point, Siller's not part of the QB conversation, but there's no telling whether the Boilermakers might need him or not again.
It's, to say the least, too bad that these injuries continue to plague Purdue. The team showed a great deal of competitiveness last season, even with backups (and their backups) all over the place on offense. With any luck, the injury spree will stop here, and the Boilers can get something approximating their best eleven on the field this season.