Tabulating Georgia Tech’s injury toll

Tech running back Qua Searcy (1) runs away from Alcorn State Braves defensive back LaShaun Ealey (18) in the first half of the season opener. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Georgia Tech A-back Qua Searcy showed promise at the start of the season, but was lost to a season-ending broken-leg injury in the Notre Dame game. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

What has been the accumulated cost of Georgia Tech’s swath of injuries this year?

One way of assessing it would be 63 games lost to injury. Depending on methods, it could be high or low (Kelly Quinlan, who covers the team for Jackets Online, arrived at more than 100 missed games). Regardless, it’s a lot, and the number probably doesn’t accurately capture the net effect.

Defensive tackle Adam Gotsis will become the 10th player who has started a game this season to miss a game due to injury after his season-ending knee injury in the Virginia game. But injuries prior to the season claimed at least three more players who could have started, possibly four.

The total doesn’t count Gotsis missing virtually the entire Virginia game, having gotten injured on the first play from scrimmage, or the weight of losing the team’s best defensive player. And it’s similarly hard to put a number on the loss of experience and playmaking ability that left the field with A-back Broderick Snoddy’s fractured hand for four games.

“It’s been one of those years,” coach Paul Johnson said. “It’s the strangest year I’ve seen.”

The number doesn’t include, for that matter, players who have left games with injuries but didn’t miss a full a game, or players who have played through injuries, such as center Freddie Burden, linebacker P.J. Davis, B-back Patrick Skov and quarterback Justin Thomas.

“After nine straight weeks, it’s probably going to take more than a couple days to get some guys healthy,” Johnson said Wednesday after the team returned to practice. “But that’s got to be our No. 1 priority here, to try to get guys ready for next week.”

It’s worth noting that it follows a remarkable season of health. Last year, no regular starter suffered a season-ending injury until wide receiver DeAndre Smelter in the final regular-season game. Prior to that, A-back Broderick Snoddy was the only regular to suffer a season-ending injury, one game earlier. (A-back Tony Zenon followed a game later in the ACC championship game.)

The A-back rotation (Dennis Andrews, B.J. Bostic, Deon Hill, Charles Perkins, Broderick Snoddy, Tony Zenon) played in 87 percent of available games in 2014. Consider a possible six-player rotation of Nate Cottrell, Matthew Jordan, Clinton Lynch, Qua Searcy, Broderick Snoddy and Isiah Willis, a plausible preseason group. It’s perhaps dramatizing the point – my guess is Johnson would not call it such – but let’s give Jordan credit for only one A-back game, as he returned to quarterback after Tim Byerly’s season-ending knee injury after the season opener. Those six have been available for 50 percent of games (at A-back) this season.

One accounting of injury games lost, game by game:

Alcorn State (5)

A-back Nate Cottrell (knee injury in preseason camp, out for season, freshman had impressed in first few days of practice)

Offensive tackle Chris Griffin (knee injury suffered playing basketball, out for season, had started seven games in 2014)

Linebacker Beau Hankins (undisclosed injury, missed one game, backup played special teams)

B-back C.J. Leggett (torn ACL in spring practice, out for season, had been expected to challenge for starting job)

B-back Quaide Weimerskirch (foot injury in spring practice, became cleared to play, had been expected to push Leggett for starting job)

Tulane (5)

Quarterback Tim Byerly (suffered knee injury in practice, out for season, dependable backup to Justin Thomas and short-yardage specialist)

Cottrell, Griffin, Leggett, Weimerskirch

Notre Dame (4)

Byerly, Cottrell, Griffin, Leggett

Duke (9)

Defensive tackle Patrick Gamble (concussion, missed two games, valuable lineman left rotation thin)

Linebacker Beau Hankins (concussion, left team for health and personal reasons after Duke game, backup had contributed on special teams)

Defensive end Roderick Rook-Chungong (shoulder injury, missed one game, dependable end dressed but didn’t play)

A-back Qua Searcy (broken leg, out for season, promising playmaker in first three games)

Wide receiver Micheal Summers (clavicle injury, out for two games, most experienced wide receiver)

Byerly, Cottrell, Griffin, Leggett

North Carolina (9)

Wide receiver Jalen Johnson (knee, missed 1-2 games, special teamer)

A-back Broderick Snoddy (hand fracture, missed four games, experienced playmaker at undermanned position)

Byerly, Cottrell, Gamble, Griffin, Leggett, Searcy, Summers

Clemson (7)

Byerly, Cottrell, Gamble, Griffin, Leggett, Searcy, Snoddy

Pittsburgh (9)

Offensive tackle Errin Joe (undisclosed, one game, had started 13 consecutive games)

Defensive back Domonique Noble (undisclosed, one game, special teamer)

Safety Demond Smith (undisclosed, one game, three-year starter missed first game in college career)

Byerly, Cottrell, Griffin, Leggett, Searcy, Snoddy

Florida State (8)

B-back Patrick Skov (shoulder, one game, tough runner had started six games)

Cornerback D.J. White (ankle, one game, captain and three-year starter)

Byerly, Cottrell, Griffin, Leggett, Searcy, Snoddy

Virginia (7)

Guard Shamire Devine (undisclosed, one game, team’s biggest lineman had started first eight games)

Safety A.J. Gray (undisclosed, one game, sure tackler with increasing role through season)

Byerly, Cottrell, Griffin, Leggett, Searcy

 

A few things: You could add reasonably add quarterback Matthew Jordan, who was not available to his opening-day position (A-back) because of Byerly’s injury. You could also add running back Quaide Weimerskirch for the entirety of the season, in that he likely would have had a better chance to play this season had he stayed healthy through spring practice and the preseason but I chose not to because he has been available to play since the Notre Dame game. You could also add linebacker Beau Hankins for the remainder of the season, as his departure from the team was related to concussions. For that matter, you could also include offensive lineman Nick Brigham, who took a medical scholarship after suffering multiple concussions. That’d be another 31.

Also, there are several backups who missed games but didn’t appear on the injury report but may have been held out been due to injuries. Regardless, a lot of games due to injuries.


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