COLUMBIA — One of the Missouri football team's newly-named co-captains suffered a season-ending injury in Monday morning's practice.
Senior offensive lineman Elvis Fisher injured his left knee during a one-on-one linemen's drill and was helped off the field by team staff.
Team spokesman Chad Moller confirmed Monday afternoon that the team is considering it a season-ending injury and that Fisher will have surgery Tuesday to repair a ruptured left patellar tendon.
“He’s been a three-year starter, never missed a game, he’s a captain, he’s a great kid,” Pinkel said after practice. “He’s worked so hard for this. The team is going to severely miss him.”
Fisher is the starting left tackle and has been each of the past three seasons. He was one of four players named a team co-captain last week.
Pinkel expressed his disappointment over the injury, but he remained focused on moving the offensive line, and his team as a whole, closer to the start of the season.
“We can’t whine about it, we’ve got to get going," he said. "Any time you have an injury as a coach, you feel for the player, then my job is to move him over, get somebody up there and let’s get going.”
Another offensive lineman, junior center Travis Ruth, was injured at the end of Saturday's scrimmage, suffering a strained Achilles tendon in his right foot. Sophomore Justin Britt will take over left tackle duties for Fisher, and senior Jayson Palmgren will shift over to the center position during Ruth’s absence.
The player who those players are protecting, sophomore quarterback James Franklin, said that though he knows Fisher isn’t there, he knows his replacement can do the same things, even if he isn’t a veteran.
Pinkel said that whatever the severity of Fisher’s injury, he will still have an impact on the team.
“He’ll have a leadership role, Elvis, when he gets back,” Pinkel said. “Whatever they have to do to him, surgery or what have you — and I’m not trying to make this bigger than it is, but I think it’s very significant. We’ll get him involved, almost like coaching a little bit. We’ll get him out there coaching. Three-year starter, very smart guy, he’ll help us out.”
Fisher and Ruth join the list of Missouri starters that are currently on the mend. Junior defensive lineman Brad Madison is recovering from a sprained shoulder, while senior wide receiver Jerrell Jackson and senior defensive back Kenji Jackson are both dealing with hamstring injuries.
Pinkel commented on the unusual number of hamstring injuries this summer.
“It seems like the injury of the camp this year,” he said. “Trouble with those are they’re lingering. If you get back too soon, then you have more problems.
“Hamstrings are kind of frustrating because … we almost look at our players and say ‘You should prevent those.’ If you eat right — fruits, vegetables — if you hydrate, you stretch, you take care of yourself, they shouldn’t happen. I know sometimes things do happen, but that’s kind of frustrating.”
Other injured players include sophomore tight end Eric Waters (hamstring), junior tight end Stephen Drain (knee sprain) and junior defensive lineman Jimmy Burge (concussion).