Watching D’Eriq King limp off the field in the 2nd quarter was heartbreaking. Just a devastating non-contact injury. 12 hours later and I’m sitting here with a hollow feeling in my stomach. Not for me or for UH but for D’Eriq – the guy that has done everything asked of him and has led this program for a year.
ESPN made a lot of the injury possibly going back to slipping on the tunnel concrete after his TD run but it’s impossible to know for sure. After the TD, Tulane ran 3 plays before fumbling; King came out and injured his knee on 2nd down.
On a personal level, King has been my favorite QB to watch in the last two decades. And he is, by-far, UH’s best player and the best player in this conference. He will be sorely missed.
King is a guy that waited his turn behind guys that simply weren’t as good. When he got his shot, he was then forced to work with an offensive coordinator that was in over his head.
But with Kendal Briles’ help, King has become a monster: in 10.5 games, he’s been responsible for 50 touchdowns (leads FBS). That’s more TDs than 112 FBS programs have scored.
I don’t have any inside information but judging by what I saw, I wouldn’t expect King to play in Memphis or the next week in a possible AAC title game.
To his credit, King tried to stay out there after the injury. Having now watched the play 15-20 times, it’s almost as if that slight step backwards is what causes it – like a brief hyper-extension. It didn’t look like he put much pressure on the knee on that step but that’s the case for many knee injuries.
For a guy that’s taken millions of steps on a football field it’s a horrific way to (possibly) end a season. King looked fine going out to start the drive and was ok til after the 2nd play.
Sometime during the night, D’Eriq’s knee probably swelled up. Hopefully team doctor Walter Lowe was able to examine his knee at TDECU before the swelling occurred.
Lowe would be looking at the structures of the knee to compare it to the non-injured one. He’ll check to see which parts stay in proper position when pressure is applied in alternate directions.
Once the swelling goes down, likely by Monday, King will have an MRI to get a clear image of the ACL, MCL, and other ligaments and cartilage. An MRI can detect a complete tear but he’d need Arthroscopy to determine if it’s a partial tear.
There’s an outside chance that the injury was just a Grade I sprain with minimal damage to the ligaments but, given King’s initial reactions, I doubt that to be the case.
Even if his season is over, D’Eriq King has had a special year. King has shown himself to be a great athlete, a special football player, and the leader of this team. He’s shown himself to be coach-able and has developed a ton since this time last year. I expect him to be named Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
But awards aside, this whole situation stinks. For him, his family, his teammates, the UH community, and football fans everywhere. Good luck, D’Eriq.
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