Eugene Rogers, The Columbia County News-Times 2003 Player of the Year in football, will be sidelined for up to eight weeks after breaking his hand during practice on July 28.
Eugene Rogers, left, chats with Erik Smith during a team photo session. Rogers broke his hand in two places during a practice July 28.
Photo by Jonathan Heeter
The Greenbrier senior broke the metacarpal on his ring finger and the knuckle of his middle finger on his left hand during practice drills last week.
"What a tremendous loss," said head coach Mickey Derrick. "He has worked so hard this summer and then he breaks his hand. I feel real bad for the kid."
Derrick said Wednesday that he thought Rogers suffered a minor injury during a play in which he stiff-armed a defender to the ground.
Rogers found out about the break after visiting a doctor on Thursday. The doctor told Rogers he might be able to return as soon as four weeks, but it could be as many as eight. He had surgery on Monday.
"If you're going to get injured this is the time to do it," said offensive coordinator Rodney Holder. "He should be back for the meat of the region schedule."
If a median time line of six weeks holds, Rogers would be absent from the Morgan County, Westside and Richmond Academy games. A full eight weeks of absence means he would miss the Evans and Lakeside games.
It will be a tough loss for the Wolfpack, who are expected to contend for a playoff spot this season, but Rogers remained upbeat.
"I'm not upset," said Rogers, who was selected as a team captain at Thursday afternoon's team photo shoot. "I am going to stay focused. I can ride the stationary bike every day during practice and stay ready."
Most of the coaches remained optimistic.
"We have a lot of athletes so we should be able to man the position well," Holder said. "They aren't Eugene though."
The senior caught 10 touchdowns last season to go with 724 receiving yards.
Senior wideout Chedric McElderry will be counted on to shoulder some of the receiving loss.
However, Rogers also plays defensive back, wingback and part-time quarterback.
Senior running backs Tyler Dent and Donald Davis will try to create the big-play ability that Rogers presented as a wingback.
Rogers, probably the most highly recruited player in the county, will have about six or seven games to make a final impression on collegiate coaches.
Currently, Rogers has interest from some of the Southeastern Conference schools, including South Carolina.
Coaches will want to know if Rogers can bounce back from the injury.
"I'll be back," Rogers said. "There's no doubt about that."
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