MORGANTOWN - As West Virginia football insiders feared, former offensive line starter and Parkersburg native Josh Jenkins will miss the upcoming season.
It was announced on Wednesday that Jenkins underwent surgery on Tuesday.
"After waiting and rehabbing Jenkins' left knee injury from the spring game, April 29, it became apparent that the patellar stability - kneecap - was not enough to play football at his level of ability effectively," read a WVU release attributed to trainer Dave Kerns.
"The MCL - medial collateral ligament - injury healed nicely, but there still remained concern. Therefore, Jenkins underwent successful surgery, Tuesday, July 5, by Dr. Bal at Ruby Hospital, to tighten the medial [big toe side] patellar retinaculum to help better track the patella for its normal function. Jenkins remains in a leg brace for six weeks, then will regain strength and slowly regain any residual lost motion due to the immobilization period.
"At the appropriate time, he will begin the back-to-run/play-progression, which all totaled will be six months from surgery until fully healed and strong enough to play football. He should be fully participatory for winter training and then spring football. He is entitled to medical hardship the 2011 season and return for senior year 2012."
Linebackers were the talk of a media gathering with West Virginia football players on Wednesday.
A specific hot topic was how the loss of redshirt sophomore Branko Busick will affect a Mountaineer defense already suffering from graduation losses.
On Tuesday, WVU coach Dana Holgorsen dismissed Busick for a violation of team rules. The player was charged with armed robbery by Morgantown police after an incident at an apartment building.
Busick wasn't listed as a starter on the most recent WVU depth chart, but he was expected to be a key contributor at middle linebacker. Busick was listed No. 2 at the position behind Najee Goode. A couple of his former teammates said Wednesday the loss of Busick's services will definitely hurt.
"Busick had a fire, you know what I'm saying?" said weak-side linebacker Josh Francis. "Branko is a great person who got into some things that were unfortunate.
"Him leaving is going to hurt us at times at the Mike spot. But we do have a lot of freshmen that can step up and we have a lot of freshmen that want to learn. These freshmen coming in want to learn."
"I love Branko to death," added strong-side linebacker Doug Rigg. "He was real cool with us in the locker room. It's a real sad blow. Plus, it does destroy our depth because we don't have that many people that have experience. He's a guy who was around for going on three years. Losing Branko is a loss, but we'll have to move on and see who can fill in the spot."
Rigg expanded on the subject.
"We have other middle linebackers, like Jewone [Snow] and that new kid Steve [Paskorz] that came from Notre Dame," he said. "But Steve is completely new to this defense. He's going to have to pick it up in one summer, basically - which is very tough. And Jewone didn't play last year either. He was a redshirt [freshman] so he doesn't have that much experience."
Rigg might be able to help out in a pinch at Mike with Donovan Miles and Tyler Anderson behind him at Will.
"If [defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel] needs me to play middle linebacker, I can play," Rigg said. "But I think I'm better outside. He thinks I can play inside, so we'll see."
"Inside is much harder when you play the run," Rigg said. "You have the big guys in there and you have to see over them. Outside, you have a better view. Against the pass, inside is easier. You basically have a run and pass difference."