Alabama’s Ingram to miss opener with knee injury

Mark Ingram’s run for a second Heisman Trophy has been put on

hold, and possibly even derailed, before the Alabama tailback had a

chance to gain a single yard.

Ingram will miss No. 1 Alabama’s opener against San Jose State

after injuring his left knee late in practice Monday, coach Nick

Saban said Tuesday.

Saban said in a statement the star tailback had an arthroscopic

procedure and should make a full recovery in a ”relatively short

time.”

”Mark will definitely be out for this week’s game against San

Jose State and we will manage this on a week to week basis beyond

this week,” Saban said.

If the absence proves short-lived, it figures to have more of an

impact on Ingram’s bid to join Ohio State running back Archie

Griffin as the only two-time Heisman winners than it does on

Alabama’s hopes for a repeat national title.

San Jose State went 2-10 last season, but the Crimson Tide face

a much stiffer test in the second week of the season. No. 19 Penn

State visits Tuscaloosa on Sept. 11, then Alabama travels to

Duke.

Alabama does have a talented backup in sophomore Trent

Richardson, who ran for 751 yards and scored eight touchdowns last

season, including 109 yards and a 49-yard touchdown against Texas

in the national title game.

He and Ingram were picked as the preseason first-team

all-Southeastern Conference tailbacks.

”It’s different not having (Ingram) out there,” Richardson

said. ”We’re not losing Mark; he’s still going to be out there. We

know we have to do what we have to do. Mark will support us and we

will support Mark too.”

Added center William Vlachos: ”We are extremely fortunate to

have guys behind him that are going to rise to the

opportunity.”

Ingram became Alabama’s first Heisman winner as a sophomore

after rushing for a school-record 1,658 yards and catching 32

passes. He’s the first running back since Pittsburgh’s Tony Dorsett

in 1976 to win both a Heisman and a national title in the same

season.

He was the third consecutive sophomore to win the Heisman

Trophy, joining quarterbacks Tim Tebow of Florida and Oklahoma’s

Sam Bradford. An early injury sidelined Bradford, while Tebow was a

finalist as a junior and a senior though he never got to hoist the

bronze statue again.

If Ingram misses more than one game, it could allow players such

as Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, Boise State quarterback

Kellen Moore or Virginia Tech tailback Ryan Williams – or someone

else – to get a head start on him in the Heisman race.

Then again, the emergence of Richardson and a diverse offense

that also includes standout receiver Julio Jones might have

hindered Ingram’s chances to repeat anyway.

Asked Monday if he thought Alabama could have two 1,000-yard

rushers, Ingram said: ”Yeah, definitely. I think it’s a definite

possibility, but our main goal is to do whatever we can to help

this team win. We’re not really focused on stats. We’re focused on

executing our assignments, playing the best football we’re capable

of playing week in and week out and help this team win games. Stats

really isn’t an issue or something we’re focused on.”

There’s not much experience behind Richardson while Ingram is

out. Redshirt freshman Eddie Lacy is listed as the

third-teamer.

”Eddie’s a little bit taller than all the other running

backs,” Ingram said Monday. ”He’s a physical runner. He can make

you miss. He can catch good out of the backfield. He’s another

great back. He’ll be real special here as well.”