Running back has meniscus removed, could be ready for opener vs. N.M.
Earlier this week, Southern running back Jerry Joseph took the field hoping to prove that he could play on his torn meniscus and wouldn’t need season-ending surgery.
The outcome was somewhere in the middle, but it’s good news overall.
Rather than having surgery to repair the damaged tissue in his left knee — an operation that would have ended his season — Joseph opted for a meniscectomy, which removes the meniscus, a piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber for the knee.
The operation should leave Joseph free of the pain that he’d been experiencing since twisting his knee on the second day of fall training camp, and there’s a chance he’ll be ready to play in the season opener at New Mexico on Sept. 1.
“They said if he works hard enough he could possibly play in the first game,” said SU coach Stump Mitchell, who left Friday’s practice early to be with Joseph at Lane Regional Medical Center in Zachary. “It’s going to be whether he can protect himself when he runs. He also has to be able to cut and things, but they feel very good about the surgery.”
Joseph practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday and said he was pain-free, but continuing to play on the damaged knee could have led to more serious setbacks.
“They said he probably could play, but they didn’t want his knee to lock up on him again,” Mitchell said, referring to a piece of tissue that had gotten hinged in Joseph’s knee.
More cautious targets for Joseph’s recovery would have him back in action against either Mississippi Valley St. on Sept. 13 or Jackson St. on Sept. 22.
If Joseph is able to come back healthy, it will be a big boost for a Southern rushing game that finished last in the conference in 2011.
Mitchell and the Jaguars entered camp hoping that Sylvester Nzekwe and Joseph would form a productive tandem out of the Jaguars backfield, and that’s still the hope should Joseph return.
In his absence, Darrius Coleman, Lenard Tillery and Terrance Clayton have had chances to lock up the No. 2 spot behind Nzekwe, but none have shown the kind of consistency that Southern is looking for.
Jaguars set for scrimmage
Southern plans to hit the practice field for its second scrimmage of fall camp at 10 a.m. Saturday, and all eyes will be on the quarterbacks once again.
In last week’s scrimmage, J.P. Douglas threw for 120 yards and a touchdown compared to just 39 yards from Dray Joseph, but a series of mistakes from Douglas led Mitchell to hand the day’s battle to Joseph.
Heading into Saturday, Joseph will again be dealing with a blister on his right big toe that has limited him for the past week. He was held out as a precaution on Friday but is expected to play in the scrimmage.
Quarterbacks coach Chad Germany said the two have been back-and-forth throughout camp, and he has a clear idea of what he’ll be looking for on Saturday.
“One of the things we have to do is manage the game,” Germany said.
“Coach Mitchell always talks about that — getting into the right plays with audibles, reading the defense, making the right throws, and not turning the football over.
“That’s always a big deal when we scrimmage, that the guys are focused and keeping us in good plays and managing the football team on offense.”