If there was one player Utah football coach Ron McBride would have wanted to protect from injury, it was swift-and-strong roving linebacker Phil Glover, an All-WAC first-teamer as a junior and this year's Ute media guide cover boy.
"You got that right," McBride said Monday evening.But Glover was to have surgery Tuesday for a "bad high-ankle sprain" suffered late in Saturday's loss to Boise State. Glover will be lost at least four weeks and probably longer, says trainer Bill Bean. Doctors chose surgery over casting in hopes that Glover could begin range-of-motion exercises earlier. They will re-evaluate the injury
in four weeks, Bean said, sounding skeptical that that would mean Glover's return then. He says Glover may be out six to eight weeks.
The surgery was to insert a screw to stabilize the joint where the lower ends of the tibia and fibula meet. The ligament that's supposed to hold the bones close has been stretched.
"Losing Darnell (Arceneaux) and Phil," said McBride wearily. "the quarterback of the defense and the quarterback of the offense."
Arceneaux broke the index finger on his throwing hand two weeks ago.
"It's a huge hit, but you've got to overcome it. That's all there is to it. You can't find reasons not to be successful."
Especially after Saturday's loss to a 17-point underdog. "I jumped on 'em pretty good," McBride said of Monday's practice. "We'll see how they respond.
"We'll have to get our act together. It's a huge downer for everybody," McBride said.
Glover's is the most devastating loss of three Saturday. Fellow defensive co-captain and two-time all-WAC second-team strong safety Robert Love injured a knee and is questionable for Saturday's game at Wyoming - an upgrade from what Bean had thought on Sunday when he said Love would likely miss the Wyoming game. If Love can't play, Sitivi Laulu will.
Offensive tackle Doug Kaufusi is scheduled for an MRI Tuesday or Wednesday on a soft-tissue mid-foot injury that could keep him out a week or up to three or four weeks, "depending on how he feels," Bean says. Kaufusi will be replaced at left tackle by senior Devin Grant with Luis Park going from left to right guard and Sam White from right to left guard, with Darren Walker center and Josh Cochran right tackle. Todd Jackson will back up at both guard spots.
Kautai Olevao will start in Glover's place at rover, with sophomore Wes Tufaga behind him. Starting middle linebacker Cyrus Satoafaiga will stay at that spot, also backed up by Tufaga. At stud 'backer will be Jason Hooks backed by Everestt Matagi. None have Glover's sideline-to-sideline speed.
"Wes is a good cover guy and a smart player most of the time. I would think he'd do all right," McBride said, still steaming at events surrounding Glover's injury on the Broncos' game-winning final TD drive.
"He goes over the top to play the screen, and one of their players pushes him from behind. When he hits the ground, his ankle kind of pops. Not only do we lose a player, we don't get a penalty called, and that was a key situation of the game because on the fourth-and-5 situation (a 12-yard pass completion to the tight end), the guy who blows the coverage is the guy that takes Glover's place," McBride says.