According to team officials, Razorbacks’ senior running back Knile Davis fractured his left ankle and has already had surgery to repair the damage. Davis sustained the injury during a team scrimmage on Thursday, August 11.
This marks the third time in three years that Davis has suffered a broken ankle, although the first two were to his right leg. The 2010 All-SEC runner will miss the entire 2011 season due to the injury.
“I feel bad for Knile,” said Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino. “He’s a young man who worked as hard as you can possibly work this summer, provided unbelievable leadership for our team, was doing a great job in camp and working extremely hard. It’s one of those things in football where it’s hard to live with a young man who has invested so much suffers an injury like that.”
With Davis out of the lineup, Petrino and his Razorbacks will have to scramble to replace the 2011 Heisman hopeful. The two best alternates at the position are Dennis Johnson and Ronnie Wingo. Johnson, a junior, has 102 career carries for 609 yards and two touchdowns. Wingo, also a junior, has 90 career carries for 572 yards and four touchdowns. Johnson and Wingo will split playing time with a bit of freshman Kody Walker sprinkled in.
“We’re in the process of finding what our identity is right now,” Petrino said. “We just have to continue to work and see how we’re going to continue being the most effective operating the offense. Where are our big plays going to come from?”
Unfortunately, Coach Petrino, none of them will come from arguably the best player on the roster.
In 2010, Davis lead the SEC with 1,322 yards on the ground on 237 carries. He also added 13 touchdowns, leading his Razorbacks to a 10-3 record and an appearance in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Davis was in early Heisman Trophy talks heading into the 2011 season, but clearly any hopes of that happening have disintegrated. He was also mentioned on the preseason watch lists for the Doak Walker, Maxwell and Walter Camp Awards.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Razorbacks bounce back from this shot to the foot (or ankle). It’ll be tough sledding for a team that depended heavily on Davis to carry the load last year. And without a quarterback like Ryan Mallett at the helm, things could turn ugly on offense in a heartbeat.