After rumors surfaced earlier this afternoon about the Hokies potentially losing another starting player due to injury, Hokiesports has just confirmed that starting tight end Ryan Malleck will miss the 2013 season after suffering a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Here's the official statement:
"Virginia Tech starting tight end Ryan Malleck will miss the 2013 season after suffering a labral tear in his left shoulder on Aug. 20 in practice, as announced Thursday by Mike Goforth, head athletic trainer. The junior will use this year as his redshirt season.
The Tech medical staff will decide a course of action for surgery in the coming week."
Already facing more injuries than any season in recent history, the Hokies could ill-afford to lose another player. Unfortunately, the injury occurred at an already thin tight end position where Malleck is the only player with considerable experience.
Duan Perez-Means, a converted defensive end, is now listed as the starter at the position. Perez-Means saw 12 snaps at the position in 2012, his first year there, 8 of which came against Austin Peay. His back up is now another converted defensive end, Zack McCray, who moved to the position only late last year. He has yet to see a snap on that side of the ball. Darius Redman, another tight end for the Hokies, saw 6 plays there last year, 4 of which coming against Austin Peay. Lastly, redshirt-freshman Dakota Jackson and true freshman Kalvin Cline are listed as "other" on the depth chart, but now have a chance to move up and perhaps earn some playing time if Perez-Means, McCray or Redman fails to impress.
While Malleck had his ups and downs in 2012, his first year as a starter, he was unquestionably the starter headed into this season, and according to accounts from around the program, was primed for a breakout year. Through his first two seasons, Malleck had played in every game for the Hokies. In 2012, he caught 17 balls for 174 yards.
For more on Malleck's injury situation and updates on how others are progressing to get back before the season begins, make Gobbler Country your choice for Virginia Tech sports news.