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A team of the top injured players would win its share of games
The SEC East has been Injury Central this season with season-ending injuries derailing seasons for teams like Florida and Georgia. Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky haven’t exactly dodged the injury bug, either.
That division isn’t alone, of course. It’s mid-November and plenty of teams sending players to the training room or worse, the operating room.
A quick look around players who have suffered season-ending injuries reveals a pretty darn good team.
Here are the top players fans won’t have the joy of watching for the remainder of the year.
Athlon Sports 2013 All-Injured Team
QB Chukie Keeton, Utah State (knee)
One of the most dynamic players in the Mountain West saw his season end on Oct. 5 with torn knee ligaments sustained against BYU. Keeton led Utah State to a WAC title last season and had accounted for 20 total touchdowns (18 passing, two rushing) in six games in 2013. The injury not only cuts into the star power of the MWC, but it could also have BCS implications with Fresno State facing Boise State or a Keeton-less Utah State in the conference title game.
Others: David Ash (Texas), Austyn Carta-Samuels (Vanderbilt), Jeff Driskel (Florida), Taylor Martinez (Nebraska), Bryn Renner (North Carolina)
RB Duke Johnson, Miami (ankle)
Miami’s ACC championship hopes weren’t ended with a 41-14 loss to Florida State, but Johnson’s broken right ankle made winning the Coastal much tougher. Johnson had rushed for 960 yards and six touchdowns through seven games. The Hurricanes lost their first game without Johnson 42-24 to Virginia Tech.
Others: Johnathan Gray (Texas), Matt Jones (Florida), Venric Mark (Northwestern), Keith Marshall (Georgia)
FB Trey Millard, Oklahoma (knee)
Millard, an All-Big 12 selection last season, was a do-it-all threat for Oklahoma. He could run, catch and line up in a handful of formations for the Sooners. In the second game without Millard, the Sooners mustered only one offensive touchdown in a 41-12 loss to Baylor.
WR Stefon Diggs, Maryland (leg)
The explosive sophomore receiver was supposed to be one of the key players to turn around the Terrapins this season, but those hopes were dashed after sustaining a broken right leg on Oct. 19. Making matters worse, second-leading receiver Deon Long also sustained a broken leg the same day. Diggs still had 236 more all-purpose yards than anyone else for Maryland.
WR Tevin Reese, Baylor (wrist)
One of Baylor’s two standout receivers, Reese sustained a dislocated wrist in the rout of Oklahoma on Thursday. Antwan Goodley is still leading the receiving corps, but Baylor, for all of its offensive production this season, does not have another receiver with 20 catches.
Others: Deon Long (Maryland), Malcolm Mitchell (Georgia), Justin Scott-Wesley (Georgia), Kasen Williams (Washington)
TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss (ankle)
A member of Ole Miss’ star-studded signing class, Engram saw his season end with an ankle injury on Oct. 19. Engram had caught 20 passes for 265 yards with three touchdowns.
Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox discuss Johnny Manziel and AJ McCarron in the Heisman race, where Stanford stands in the title race and make picks for Week 12 in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
A projected starter at left tackle, Davis was lost to a torn ACL before the season. The injury prompted a season-long shuffle on the Oklahoma State offensive line.
OL Chaz Green, Florida (shoulder)
A returning starter, Green was lost for the season due to a torn labrum. The Green injury, among others, cut into the depth of a suspect Gators offensive line.
OL Dan Feeney, Indiana (foot)
Feeney, a freshman All-American last season, was one of two starting linemen lost for Indiana the season, joining tackle Peyton Eckert.
OL Spencer Long, Nebraska (knee)
Nebraska lost its most experienced lineman on Oct. 15 when Long, a three-year starter at guard, suffered a season-ending knee injury.
OL Josh Williford, LSU
The veteran lineman’s career ended before the season started when he sustained his second concussion in a year during an August practice. Williford had started 19 games in his career and was slated to be a full-time starter at left guard.
Others: Kyle Lichtenberg (Iowa State), Ralph Oragwu (Houston)
DL Devonte Fields, TCU (foot)
The Big 12’s defensive freshman of the year started the season under a suspension and attempted to play through a foot injury when he returned. Fields, who had 10 sacks as a rookie, elected to have season-ending foot surgery on Oct. 9.
DL Dominique Easley, Florida (knee)
Easley was in the running for SEC Defensive Player of the Year before he suffered a torn ACL after three games. The junior elected to complete his eligibility and declare for the draft during his recovery.
DL Chris Whaley, Texas (knee)
Whaley had become one of the top defensive linemen for a Texas defense that had turned its fortunes since two early losses. He had five tackles for a loss and two defensive touchdowns when he was lost for the season to a knee injury last week.
DL Ben Gardner, Stanford (pectoral)
A scary thought for Oregon is that Stanford demolished the Ducks’ offense without one of its most experienced players. The fifth-year senior Gardner was lost for the season to a torn pectoral muscle sustained against Oregon State on Oct. 26.
Others: Kirby Ennis (Texas A&M), Junior Onyeali (Texas), Jordan Phillips (Arizona State)
LB Morgan Breslin, USC (hip)
One of the leaders on USC’s defense, Breslin was lost for at least the remainder of the regular season to a hip injury on Nov. 6. The defensive end/outside linebacker had eight tackles for a loss despite missing two games this season.
LB Jordan Hicks, Texas (Achilles)
Once considered the key player in Texas’ run defense, Hicks suffered a season-ending injury for the second time in two seasons.
LB Corey Nelson, Oklahoma (pectoral)
Nelson was the second-leading tackler on the top defense in the Big 12 when he suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle against TCU on Oct. 5.
Others: Michael Doctor (Oregon State), Luke Knott (Iowa State), Antonio Morrison (Florida)
DB Christian Bryant, Ohio State (ankle)
The Buckeyes veteran safety suffered a broken ankle on the second-to-last snap of Ohio State’s biggest win of the season against Wisconsin. Bryant was considered one of the top leaders on the Buckeyes’ defense.
DB Tyler Hunter, Florida State (neck)
Florida State has had one of the top defensive backfields in the country, largely without the services of the starting safety Hunter. The junior suffered a bulging disk Sept. 21 against Bethune-Cookman.
DB Dexter McDougle, Maryland (shoulder)
Maryland’s injury issues started early this season when starting cornerback McDougle suffered a season-ending shoulder injury after recording eight tackles and an interception against Connecticut on Sept. 12
DB Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama (knee)
Sunseri was off to a great start this season with two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the first two games of the season. Sunseri suffered torn knee ligaments against Arkansas on Oct. 19, opening the door for star sophomore Landon Collins.
Others: Stefan McClure (Cal)