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Knee injury leaves S. Miss’ leading rusher ‘very doubtful’ for ’12 season

Jamal Woodyard AP

On the job for less than two months, Ellis Johnson has already suffered a rather significant loss.

The new Southern Miss head coach confirmed Saturday that running back Jamal Woodyard will likely miss the 2012 season due to injury, with Johnson labeling him as “very doubtful” for the upcoming year.  Woodyard injured his knee in the Golden Eagles’ Hawaii Bowl win over Nevada in December.

The soon-to-be redshirt sophomore has already undergone one surgery, and another medical procedure will be required on the knee at some point in the future.

“You’re talking about a young man who will miss a full calendar year of football, both spring and fall,” Johnson said according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “I trust the surgery will be good and I know the rehab will be good. It’s just a matter of whether when he comes back if he’ll be back to the old Jamal Woodyard. I think he’ll put forth every effort he has to do so.

“We have tremendous faith in our medical team. We have outstanding doctors in orthopedics associated with this program. There’s no reason to feel like he won’t be back. I think we’re all expecting him back. We all have to be patient because we won’t see him for a year.”

As a redshirt freshman in 2011, Woodyard led Southern Miss with 732 yards rushing.  He averaged nearly seven yards per carry.

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