Herd's McKelvey likely out for year
HUNTINGTON - Marshall likely has lost an important reserve in its defensive corps with the knee injury of Evan McKelvey.
McKelvey injured his left knee while covering a kickoff last weekend in the Thundering Herd's 27-24 loss to Ohio. As he was helped off the field, he put no weight on the knee.
The injury is believed to be a torn anterior cruciate ligament. During his weekly press conference Tuesday, coach Doc Holliday wasn't optimistic on the prognosis for the sophomore from Moncks Corner, S.C.
"He's got to get an MRI, but it doesn't look good for McKelvey," Holliday said. "He won't play this week for sure, and I would guess he may be finished up for the season. Which is a shame, because he was starting to mature and come along."
The injury interrupts a promising season for McKelvey, who was moved from safety to linebacker during preseason camp. Backing up Devin Arrington at weak-side linebacker, McKelvey had 14 tackles, 11/2 for loss.
His teammates and position coach noticed him picking up the new position quickly.
"Man, man, that's a big hurt to the team," Arrington said. "Because he was a great special-teams guy, and he was in the rotation. If I got winded, he'd come in. He played a lot of ball the first two games."
Said Chris Rippon, defensive coordinator who also tutors linebackers: "He's going to be a good player. He was on his way to being a good player this year. It's a tough break - you'd like to think positively that he's going to be able to mature mentally in the system, stay with us, and be ready to go again in the springtime and be a major factor next year.
"It's tough for him, because he was starting to play with confidence, he was in the games, big-time in special teams two weeks ago."
The loss of McKelvey brings some shuffling to the linebacker unit. Raheem Waiters, the starting strong-side linebacker until supplanted by former safety D.J. Hunter, will shift to "Will" behind Arrington. Hunter's backup appears to be another converted safety, Derek Mitchell.
The Herd gets better injury news on the offensive front. At left guard, John Bruhin is expected to return to 100 percent, and Garrett Scott is coming back at right tackle.
Once again, Holliday reported progress on two longstanding injury situations, defensive lineman James Rouse and cornerbacker Darryl Roberts. He sees Rouse possibly rejoining practice in a couple of weeks.
Holliday came closer to ruling running back Tron Martinez out for the season, once and for all.
"With that Achilles tendon deal, it's not something that [heals] two weeks ahead of time or whatever," Holliday said of Rouse. "There is a time frame where that tendon actually does heal. I think he's a couple of weeks away from where we can get him back.
"Tron, probably not, to be honest. Darryl is week to week, and we'll see how it goes. Tron, I would guess, is probably a little bit like McKelvey."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.