Oregon St. Needs A Doctor

Oregon St. head coach Mike Riley took a "back to work" approach to the Hawaii game, and it will have to continue; the Beavers will have to roll up their sleeves to work around several injuries suffered Saturday evening. - Photo by Andy Wooldridge

Oregon St. needs a doctor, but they won't have Michael Doctor for a while.

Beavers head coach Mike Riley shared some injury updates this evening, and they raise some concerns going forward.

OLB Michael Doctor, who had to leave yesterday's game against Hawaii in the second quarter, and was on crutches with a boot on his left foot after halftime, had surgery this morning. A plate was inserted, and Doctor is expected to be out a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks.

Doctor is expected to begin rehab in 2 weeks, and depending on his progress, wouldn't return until probably the Homecoming game against Stanford on Oct. 26 at the earliest. It could easily be the Arizona St. trip in mid-November before he could return. Fortunately, Doctor, who played as a true freshman, still has his red-shirt season available, in the event that too much of the season will be lost, as the injury happened early enough that this season isn't already "used.".

"That will be between me and Mike," Riley said. "We'll cross that bridge later."

Caleb Saulo took over for Doctor, and recorded 5 tackles against Hawaii. The issue will be who is behind Saulo on the depth chart should anything happen to him.

Fortunately for Oregon St., their other outside LB D.J. Alexander may be ready to return to the field this week against Utah. If he does, Jabral Johnson, who has been starting for Alexander, will give the Beavers some options.

The news was worse as far as the offensive line, as junior Roman Sapolu, who left the game yesterday in the 4th quarter, also suffered a foot injury that will require surgery, and is likely done for the season. Sapolu has already used his red-shirt season, so an appeal for a 6th season may be in the works.

Sapolu has been starting at right guard for Grant Enger, who was in turn taking over at right tackle for Gavin Andrews, who has missed both games this season with mononucleosis.

Fortunately, Andrews has been cleared to return to practice this week, and could be ready to go against Utah. That would be especially helpful, given that Enger, who wend down a play before Sapolu, has a sprained knee, and is probably out at least 2 weeks.

As a result, Oregon St. finished the game with center Isaac Seumalo, who missed the opener with a bruised knee himself, playing tackle, and Josh Mitchell, who started at center in place of Seumalo against Eastern Washington back at center.

Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh will likely do some experimenting this week before deciding how to put the pieces together on the right side of the line. True freshman Sean Harlow could be creeping closer to playing.

Andrews' endurance the first game back after a serious illness, especially at elevation in Salt Lake City, could well become an issue as the evening wears on.

Health and depth issues were central to the last 2 seasons, one considerably more successful than the other, and it could be that's what will define this year as well, as Oregon St. hits the road for their Pac-12 Conference opener at Utah Saturday night, and then visits San Diego St. a week later.


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