Sprinkles goes down with knee injury
South Tahoe senior quarterback Tim Sprinkles called his situation the best of a worst-case scenario.
The 2-0 Vikings lost their offensive leader for four to six weeks when Sprinkles left the game with a slight tear of his mediocollateral ligament. With South Tahoe up 20-6 just before halftime, Sprinkles scrambled 30 yards down the sideline before two Lowry defenders hit him: one high, one low. The blow knocked his knee sideways, for a degree-one tear of the ligament.
“The guy dove and hit me to the side of the right of my knee, and another guy hit me in front,” Sprinkles said.
He got up and played the next down, but couldn’t support any weight with the leg, and took a sack. He left the game after the play.
Sprinkles heard no pop or snap from his knee when the play happened, but felt a sensation like the one that comes from a twisted knee. He knew the ligament stretched too far. Sprinkles said he can sit without pain, and walk on crutches without pain, but putting weight on the leg brings pain.
“I feel so much better than I did yesterday,” Sprinkles said Sunday. “If I just keep off of it for a week and go into physical training hard, I’ll be back sooner than anybody thinks.”
Sprinkles received the results from his magnetic resonance imaging test Sunday. He and the doctor who treated him Sunday, Scott Southard, have targeted anywhere from three to six weeks for the quarterback’s return, depending on how quickly the injury heals. The partial tear requires no surgery, just therapy. Sprinkles will miss Friday’s trip to Douglas, the following home game against Hug and most likely the Sept. 24 trip to Reno.
“It’d be pretty amazing if I made it back for Reno, but I’d really like to (play Wooster),” Sprinkles said. “I don’t want to rush anything. I don’t want to make any steps too soon and hurt myself again.”
Sprinkles could return to play Reno, but doesn’t want to rush his recovery, which means he is targeting Oct. 2’s game against traditional powerhouse Wooster for his return.
“That’s what we’re shooting for right now,” said South Tahoe head coach Tim Jaureguito.”
Until then, junior Jarred Uppendahl, a 5-11, 166-pound junior, will fill in with the first unit, with junior safety Sean Kezer moving into the backup slot. Chris Seals will replace Kezer at safety. Uppendahl played a half against Lowry on Friday and a quarter and a half in South Tahoe’s 40-6 opening-game win against Sparks, and brings similar skills to the quarterback position. Uppendahl, like Sprinkles, can stay in the pocket, pass on the run, or scramble.
“It doesn’t hurt us a bit,” Jaureguito said.
Jaureguito said Uppendahl throws a good ball, and praised his skill and potential to leave his mark as one of the best quarterbacks in the state. The only major change the coaching staff will make will be to have fewer audibles and checks at the line for Uppendahl. The new starter faces a stiff test in his first game, in the form of Douglas.
“We’ll find out next week, but he’ll be OK,”said offensive coordinator Todd McIntyre. McIntyre said Uppendahl had taken a number of snaps with the offense – not as many as Sprinkles – and is familiar with the system. How certain will become apparent against the 4-3 defense of Douglas.
“With Jarred, we’re probably going to have to not do as much, but I think he’ll be good,” McIntyre said.
Sprinkles stayed for the end of the game, and left the field on a pair of crutches he had – by chance – in his car, and spent the night in an immobilizing brace. Southard examined the injury Saturday, and again in more detail Sunday. Southard was not on call with his clinic, the Tahoe Fracture and Orthopedic Medical Clinic, and not available for comment by press time. Sprinkles plans on staying off his foot completely for the next five to seven days, then start physical therapy. He anticipates checking the ligament again six months from now, and staying in a brace.
“It should heal completely, and I should have no long-term effects whatsoever,” Sprinkles said.
The injury frightened Sprinkles, but he was upbeat about his prospects Sunday.
“I’ve never been so scared in my life,” he said. “Football, I live to play sports, and that’s my thing.
“It was like I got the best out of the worst-case scenario.”
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