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Joe Halahuni (87) heads for the end zone for a touchdown last season against California.

But "The Tank" could be sidelined for an extended period of time with a shoulder injury.

<em>(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)</em>
Joe Halahuni (87) heads for the end zone for a touchdown last season against California. But "The Tank" could be sidelined for an extended period of time with a shoulder injury. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

Oregon St.'s injury plagued spring football season got worse this week, with news that Senior TE/H-Back Joe Halahuni is not only out of Saturday's spring game, but could be headed for an extended absence.

"I don't know yet," Riley said of the severity of a shoulder injury to "Joe The Tank.". "I'll be able to tell you more Saturday about where this thing is going. It's negative though, I'll tell you that."

Halahuni had a long meeting with Oregon St.'s orthopedic surgeon Donald Pennington after practice Wednesday about his situation. He was upset as he left the Valley Football Center, and declined to be interviewed.

Halahuni may need shoulder surgery, and will be out for an extended period of time, Riley explained. Halahuni has been bothered by the injury throughout spring practice, which hasn't responded as hoped.

Halahuni's injury comes on the heels of junior Colby Prince having suffered a sprained his ankle last weekend. Prince, who has had an impressive spring, is out of action this week, including Saturday's game as well, though lingering effects aren't expected.

As a result, only a pair of red-shirt freshmen, Connor Hamlett and Tyler Perry are still available at the position.

"We might have to call timeout in the spring game if we don't have enough tight ends," Riley said. "We won't run any two tight end sets, that's for sure."

While TE/H-Back isn't a featured position for many teams, or even utilized in some systems, Oregon St.'s offense heavily utilizes it, both directly and indirectly, and in both their passing and rushing games. If the loss of Halahuni lingers into fall, the Beavers would definitely be hurt offensively.

Halahuni does still have a red-shirt season available, should that become necessary.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com