Ogletree Injures ACL, Needs Surgery

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Kevin Ogletree will need surgery to repair a torn ACL.

Virginia wide receiver Kevin Ogletree tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late last week and will need corrective surgery, according to UVa coach Al Groh. Ogletree underwent an MRI earlier this week and this morning’s results confirmed that ACL surgery is necessary. An official timetable for his return is unknown, but ACL rehabilitation can range anywhere from 5 months to 1 year in most cases.

“We found out this morning that Kevin Ogletree has a torn ACL that is going to require surgery. That hasn’t been scheduled yet, but it’s coming up here,” Groh said Wednesday via teleconference. “Anytime you have that, there’s a standard answer [at least] until the particulars of each guy’s case is known and that usually comes when surgery is done and rehabilitation begins. The standard answer on that is 12 months.”

Ogletree injured his knee in Friday’s closed practice session.

“Last Friday, he tried to make a cut and it just gave out on him,” Groh said. “They did the MRI the other night and we just got the results. Because he didn’t experience too much next-day difficulty, we were kind of hoping against hope, but when I saw it I thought to myself ‘Uh-oh, I know what that looks like.’ Unfortunately, that turned out to be an accurate visual diagnosis.”

Indeed, Ogletree managed to participate in the weekend’s open practice sessions after Friday’s injury. His action was extremely limited even though the after effects didn’t prohibit him from doing some mild work. However, the St. Albans, N.Y., native did wear a rather hefty brace during practice on both Saturday and Sunday.

“He did some drill work and was very enthusiastic to do it,” Groh said. “He didn’t see himself as being hurt. I kind of saw it [happen] and I was concerned about it since I saw it. When things didn’t really seem to flare up, I got to thinking ‘Well, maybe this one will fool me’, but unfortunately I was accurate on that.”

Ogletree already had offseason wrist surgery so naturally the latest setback is disappointing. Ogletree will have to shift his focus to rehab and getting back healthy for his remaining eligibility. The junior has yet to use a redshirt season.

Kevin Ogletree hauled in 52 receptions for 582 yards and 4 TDs last season.

“There’s a counseling session that goes with these things,” Groh said. “Understandably, he’s disappointed. Going into his third year, that’s when it really happens for a lot of guys so he had really had tunnel vision toward that. We just have to realize that year’s coming back again. Just put in on ice – it’s not like it’s lost forever or it’s out there in space someplace and it’ll never come back. We’ll get a chance to get it back.”

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have to figure out a way to replace the on-field production. Ogletree, along with quarterback Jameel Sewell , was one of the Cavaliers’ two biggest returning offensive weapons. Ogletree caught 52 passes for 582 yards last season after stepping in to replace Deyon Williams , who missed most of training camp and the 2006 season after having surgery for a stress fracture in his right foot.

Beyond Ogletree, only two returning offensive players other than Sewell scored a touchdown last season – tight end Tom Santi and running back Mikell Simpson . To make matters worse at the receiver position, only two of the current returnees caught passes last season – Maurice Covington had six grabs, while Cary Koch had one. Those seven receptions totaled 49 yards.

Groh indicated that it was a virtual pick ’em contest at to who moves up the depth chart. The current list of receivers include Covington, Koch, Simpson (splitting time at WR/RB so far this spring), Staton Jobe , Simon Manka, Zach Mendez-Zfass, Chris Gorham , and Chris Dalton .

“We just have to adjust team-wise and take a next man up attitude,” Groh said. “That’s always what it is. You lose guys along the way and it’s next man up. While we feel for the player that is missing time and what happened to him personally, as a team we have to buck up and go on. Every team is going to lose guys and it’s how you respond to that as much as anything that determines how you come out of it.”

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