Pitt got some disappointing news today when it was announced that James Conner and Isaac Bennett would be out for the remainder of the spring with some injury issues. Both suffered the injuries on Friday - Bennett a shoulder sprain and Conner a knee sprain.
The PG's Sam Werner has been all over the story and has all of the key news. The Conner injury sounded pretty bad at first:
Conner left on a golf cart with ice on his left knee. Chryst’s exact words on the situation were "I don’t know." #Pitt— Sam Werner (@SWernerPG) April 4, 2014
After Bennett went down, wide receiver Ronald Jones checked in as the emergency running back, Werner tweeted.
By all accounts, it was a physical practice:
The practice was one of the most physical of the spring. The team ran several 11-on-11 drills with officials calling penalties.
"I love the physical part of it," coach Paul Chryst said. "When you play physical, it means you are confident in what you are doing and where you're going."But there are limits to that, he said.
"We had a couple guys dinged up. You don't want that by any means."
The good news is that both are expected to be ready for the start of training camp in the fall, so no harm, no foul...for the most part. But still, it'd be nice for them to get their reps in with new quarterback Chad Voytik to work on timing of handoffs and the sort of thing most of us don't really think about.
The biggest issue, though, is how Pitt practices moving forward. This fall, the running back group will be pretty strong with the additions of Chris James, Qadree Ollison, and local kid Dennis Briggs. But in the spring, the only other back on the depth chart is Rachid Ibrahim. That creates a bit of a problem in terms of reps and the losses make Pitt extremely thin there.
Overall, though, things could be worse. The fact that both of these guys should be back for training camp and aren't even expected to miss offseason conditioning really doesn't make this too bad:
Injuries not expected to prevent Bennett & Conner from being ready for offseason conditioning when it begins in May.— Pitt Football (@GoPittFootball) April 5, 2014
Things should be fine by the fall, but for now, Paul Chryst might need to do a bit of juggling.