The University of Miami's third-leading receiver, 6-2, 188-pound sophomore Herb Waters, was seen on crutches today at The Citrus Bowl as his teammates wrapped up their practice session for the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Though UM coach Al Golden left practice without speaking to the media, It was confirmed that Waters did not practice today and yesterday. This is bad news for the Hurricanes for obvious reasons. The Canes will already be challenge by Louisville's No. 2 rushing defense and No. 8 pass defense.
We do not know for sure if Waters is out of the bowl game, but it doesn't look promising.
Waters, who was identified by Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post as having his "right knee in light brace'' as we watched players such as defensive backs Keion Berry and Nate Dortch and Corn Elder and of course running back Duke Johnson walk off with crutches as well, has 28 catches for 406 yards and five touchdowns this season.
Senior Allen Hurns leads Miami with 60 catches for 1,138 yards and six touchdowns.
Freshman Stacy Coley has 30 catches for 559 yards and seven touchdowns.
Junior tight end Clive Walford also has 30 catches for 372 yards and two touchdowns.
Waters' season-high day of nine catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns came at Duke on Nov. 16.
His next-best showing was his 73-yard, two-touchdown receiving day at USF on Sept. 28.
The Homestead High graduate played in all 12 games.
We knew about Duke and Corn and Nate, at least, and Keion has played in two games. Reserve linebacker JaWand Blue had a hard cast on his left arm, but he, too, has played in only two games.
I also saw big offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu limping severely near the team bus. He has not played in any games this season and will be redshirted.
As if this game wasn't a big enough challenge for UM, it just became even tougher.
Hopefully for Miami, veteran receiver Phillip Dorsett, who partially tore the medial collateral ligament of his left knee at North Carolina on Oct. 17, is as game-ready as offensive coordinator James Coley told us he was yesterday.
Dorsett needs to spring into big-time action.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN