EUGENE — Just two games into the season, and No. 4 Oregon has already been dealt a blow with injuries to guard Carson York and free safety John Boyett, both fifth-year senior leaders.
But UO coach Chip Kelly is not bemoaning his team’s misfortune. He has long held that the Ducks operate on a “next man in" mentality.
“We’re not going to hang our heads and say, ‘Boy, we lost John Boyett, we can’t play anymore.’" Kelly said Tuesday during the Pac-12 coaches teleconference. “Everyone in college football has gone through the same thing. ... We feel very, very bad for the individuals, but we’ve got to move on."
Earlier this week, Boyett revealed to his hometown newspaper in Napa, Calif., that he will need surgery to repair patellar tendons in both knees. The injury will end his career with the Ducks unless Oregon successfully petitions the NCAA for an additional year of eligibility.
York hurt his right kneecap during Oregon’s 42-25 win over Fresno State last weekend. He announced to reporters that he would undergo surgery on Tuesday and that his season was over.
Boyett played in the Ducks’ season-opening victory over Arkansas State, but he was in street clothes for last weekend’s victory over Fresno State. Because Kelly does not talk about injuries, the extent of Boyett’s knee problems was not known at the time. Junior Avery Patterson started in his place.
Boyett made 36 career starts, with 278 tackles and 10 interceptions. In last season’s Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin, he had 17 tackles.
“I’ve had a lingering injury that I played through all last year. The hope was, through different treatments and certain types of rehab during this past offseason, they would heal up and I’d be ready to go for my senior year," Boyett said in a statement he read to the Napa Valley Register. “But unfortunately, it didn’t work out as planned. I’ve been dealing with a tremendous amount of pain for a long time."
Boyett will have surgery today. He said recovery is expected to take six months. He likely will be ready for the NFL draft next spring.
York, who became a starter in 2009 and has played in 41 games for the Ducks, injured the same knee in last season’s Rose Bowl win and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. While the latest injury was to the same knee, York said that doctors told him the injuries were unrelated.
“Getting to represent the University of Oregon and everyone associated with it has truly been the greatest honor of my life," York posted to Twitter.
Also hurt during the Fresno State game was junior receiver Josh Huff, who went down on a first-half kickoff return. Huff appeared to injure his left knee and had to be helped off the field. While he later walked unaided to the locker room, he came out on crutches in the second half.
After the game, Huff shrugged off the injury, calling his absence from the rest of the game “precautionary." He was not seen after practice on Monday, but on Tuesday he appeared to be walking without a limp. Oregon closes practices.
Huff said trainers would decide whether he should play this Saturday when Oregon hosts Tennessee Tech in the final nonconference game of the season.