CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — After playing in pain most of the season, Miami left tackle Jason Fox finally succumbed to the inevitable.
The 14th-ranked Hurricanes’ MVP for 2009 will miss the Champs Sports Bowl against No. 24 Wisconsin on Dec. 29 after having surgery on his left knee.
Projected as a second- or third-round pick on many draft boards, Fox is planning to resume workouts in a few weeks and does not believe the operation will affect his NFL status.
“He’s done a nice job here at the University of Miami, been working well and helped us get where we’re at right now,” Miami coach Randy Shannon said. “He worked hard all season long and was playing with some pain all season, so this was best for him. One thing I’ve always said, we’re not going to use a kid just for a win. We’ve got to look at his benefit.”
Miami (9-3) started bowl practices Saturday, one day behind schedule because torrential rain washed out Friday’s session.
Fox was at practice in a T-shirt and shorts, with a large brace on his left leg. He was not available for comment, but Shannon said he will accompany the Hurricanes to Orlando for the game.
“Jason has a bright future ahead in football and he needs to be 100 percent going forward,” Shannon said.
Fox started 47 games in his Miami career. Only William Joseph (50) and Ed Reed (48) had more in their tenure with the Hurricanes, who will shift Orlando Franklin to left tackle in Fox’s place. Franklin played left tackle in the regular-season finale against South Florida, a game Fox missed because of illness.
Franklin said Fox’s decision to play through pain all season was a lesson he won’t soon forget.
“It says he’s got a lot of heart and he’ll do anything for his teammates,” Franklin said. “It’s hard to find a guy like that.”
Fox graduated from Miami on Thursday, and was a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference player this season.