North Carolina won't have to worry about stopping Virginia Tech running back and kick returner David Wilson. Mononucleosis already has, according to a release from the athletics department.
Wilson will miss this weekend's key Coastal matchup with the Tar Heels after being diagnosed with Mono. He missed practice Monday with viral-like symptoms, later discovered to be the disease. He's expected to return to the lineup against Miami on Nov. 20.
Big Blow to Special Teams
Wilson's absence means the Hokies will be without their two starting kick returners. Wide receiver Dyrell Roberts will be sidelined until at least the bowl game with compartment syndrome in his left thigh. He will be replaced by backup running back Tony Gregory.
There's no word on who will join Gregory on kickoff returns with Wilson out, but backup cornerback Cris Hill is listed on this week's depth chart as the No. 3 kick returner along with rover Davon Morgan. (Update: According to Darryl Slater, Ryan Williams will replace Wilson. He must be 100 percent, which is good news.)
The injury to Roberts and illness to Wilson comes at a bad time for the Hokies. They're about to face a North Carolina team that is coming off a big road win against Florida State and is also one of the worst kick coverage teams in the ACC. The Heels have allowed 23 yards per kick return this year, second-to-last in the conference ahead of only Virginia Tech's 23.9.
Whatever (or whoever) gave Wilson Mono really picked a bad time to do so.
Drager Also Ruled Out
The other injury announced today by the university will also have a big impact on this week's game. Chris Drager will miss this weekend's game after suffering a nasty hit late in the game against Georgia Tech.
Drager, along with Steven Friday, was expected to help put pressure on UNC quarterback T.J. Yates, who is coming off a record-setting performance against FSU. Yates threw for a school-record 439 yards and three touchdowns against the Seminoles after struggling against Miami and William and Mary.
Freshmen James Gayle and J.R. Collins will get more playing time with Drager out. Both have excelled at times this year, but lack the consistency of Drager or Friday. One of those two will need to have a breakthrough game this weekend in Chapel Hill.