Joel Skotte To Have Surgery

Joel Skotte, 32, will need neck surgery before he gets back on the field for Oregon St.

Oregon St. sophomore middle linebacker Joel Skotte will have surgery to repair damage in his neck.

"Right now, we're just trying to get the right surgery and try to make it so I can play again," Skotte said. "We're just kind of on standstill right now until I get it all figured out and try to get surgery."

Skotte has a ruptured disk, a protruding disk, and some spinal cord damage that he suffered during this past football season.

Skotte was the Beavers' starting middle linebacker coming out of camp, but was replaced in the lineup in the San Diego St. game. He remained in the position rotation, but saw considerably less action, and that got worse when he suffered a turf toe injury.

Then, neck and what were thought initially to be concussion problems surfaced.

Skotte said he first injured his neck during in practice the week before Oregon St.'s 31-14 loss to USC on Nov. 1, when he took a hit that he said "jacked my neck up pretty good."

At the time, it was thought to be a neck spasm, but on the opening kickoff of the USC game, as Beaver fans will recall, Skotte was knocked out blocking for the return. Skotte was diagnosed with a concussion, and didn't play against Arizona St. the following week.

He returned to action against Washington, and had 6 tackles, and also played in the Civil War. Skotte was in uniform at the Sheraton Hawaii bowl, but never got into the game.

After returning from the bowl trip, with pain in his neck increasing, Skotte had an MRI done at home in Bend, which discovered the greater extent of the damage, and prompted the conversation he and his dad had with Coach Mike Riley we reported on last week.

"The (OSU) trainers here thought it was muscle spasms in my neck, so we didn't do anything all season about it," Skotte said.

Skotte is now planning to travel to Southern California in the upcoming weeks to have a specialist there examine the injury. After that, he will get a plan for treatment and recovery.

Skotte's first statement indicates that if things go as planned, he still plans to play again, and expects to be able to. The former star from Mt. View played in his true freshman season, and still has his red-shirt season available in the event he isn't ready for the coming season.

Here's hoping for a complete recovery, and a successful return to action, but only when he's fully healthy.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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