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Tech loses Evans for year after knee injury in practice

BLACKSBURG

Just five days ago, Billy Hite was giddy over what he described as maybe the most deep and talented backfield in his 32 years at Virginia Tech.

Tuesday night, the Hokies' running backs coach had to hope that assessment was right. A red-eyed Hite couldn't muster much more than a whisper as he talked about losing his starter, Darren Evans, to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during practice earlier that afternoon.

"He was running a route, planted, and just went down," Hite said. "It's devastating. Obviously, he is (devastated) right now. His girlfriend... she's a basket case. It just doesn't make any sense. It's not fair."

Evans, who set a Tech freshman record last season with 1,265 yards, also injured his knee during last Friday's practice. He said he heard "a pop" and thought he'd torn his ACL that day.

But the Hokies' medical staff examined the knee, found no loose ligaments and determined that Evans simply sprained "the capsule around the knee, the soft tissue around the knee," according to trainer Mike Goforth.

Evans practiced sparingly for three days after the initial injury, only participating in light running and non-contact drills. He said after Monday's practice that he was "70 percent... but getting better every day."

Tuesday, he returned to full-speed, full-contact practice. Roughly an hour into it, his season was over.

"I think he (tore) it the other day," Hite said. "The problem with that is: He's so strong, there was nothing loose in his knee. A normal person, that leg would fall off; it would be that loose. He was out there running wind sprints full-speed. He's so strong, I'm sure the muscles masked what really happened the other day."

Now Tech must turn its attention to replacing Evans. And while there was reason for Hite's excitement last week - both redshirt freshman Ryan Williams and true freshman David Wilson were high school All-Americans - there is also reason for caution.

Neither of the young stars has had a college carry. Redshirt sophomore Josh Oglesby becomes the veteran of the backfield with 38 career carries for 88 yards. Kenny Lewis Jr., with 175 carries for 657 yards, would've had that distinction if not for a recent surgery - his fourth - on the Achilles he injured last season.

In an odd coincidence, on Monday, Oglesby had talked about the risk of injury to running backs.

"Darren's No. 1. He did his thing last season. But ain't no way you can make it through the season with just one running back. People are going to get hurt.... I'm going to get some playing time, one way or the other. I'm positive about that."

The prophesy is well on its way to fulfillment. Hite said Oglesby will be elevated to the No. 1 spot for now. Williams will move to No. 2 on the depth chart, although he was the star of Tech's spring game in April.

Hite also said Wilson, the rookie with 4.33 speed who has been sometimes dazzling so far in camp, will now definitely need to prepare to not redshirt.

"You can't ever have enough backs," Hite said. "Each one of them is going to have to take a step up, kick it up a notch. We've got three really good tailbacks still.

"Any time you lose a guy like Darren, sure it hurts your football team. But we're all going to pull together and bounce back."

Kyle Tucker, (757) 446-2374, kyle.tucker@pilotonline.com

Posted to: College Football Sports Virginia Tech

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I'm not a trainer but...

I'm looking at a player who has a sprained knee Friday, running on that same knee today? I would think that when you have a sprain/ injury you are going to displace/ shift your weight in a manner you and your body are not accustomed to and ....well...there you go. ACL tear is a year long rehab- was it worth it to push this guy TODAY?

If you're a Hokie fan, this is big news, I guess.

And I'm sorry he was injured, but to devote almost the entire front page of the sports section to it? Must have been a slow sports news day. And to include quotes like, "His girlfriend... she's a basket case. It just doesn't make any sense. It's not fair." A bit of hyperbole here? I wish him a speedy recovery and hope he's able to continue playing football soon.

Former Girlfriend

Probably more accurate to call her his former girlfriend. Her meal-ticket may be done with his career.

At this point, Oglesby is probably looking pretty good to her...

Football

This is why education is so important. You can't count on football for big bucks.

VT provides a good start on life

It is ashame he was injured playing a sport he enjoyed. But to devote the front of the sports page to this is sad. List it with other injury reports - the back page. We have soldiers and Marines injured daily in Iraq but, no mention of those men serving our country. This guy is playing a game. He is not out there trying to stop the violence in the world. Maybe he should his mind to what college is for to start with - an education. Instead of sprinting to an end zone, sprint for an education and graduate. The NFL has become a joke with people going to college, not learning anything but football. Most of the star NFL players are a step above being totally illiterate. Just listen to any interview.

I don't understand comments like this

The sports page reports on sports stories; not war, not the state of our economy, not restaurant critiques. ESPN.com deemed this story important enough to put it on the front page of their news service and they are "the worldwide leader in sports"! Darren Evans is the #1 back on the best and most popular football team in the state, who happen to be pre-season ranked in the top ten. Like it or not, Virginia Tech has a huge following in this area. What story from yesterday was more important that it should have received higher visibility than this one? The Virginian Pilot is in the business of selling newspapers, so they obviously felt this was a big enough story to put it on the front page.

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