Saturday, during the USC game the Longhorns took two L’s instead of one. Not only did Texas lose the game, but left tackle Connor Williams went down in the first half and did not return to the game.
On Sunday, the team announced that starting that he suffered a sprained MCL and PCL and a torn meniscus during the game. For those unfamiliar with anatomy, MCL and PCL are shorthand for two stabilizing ligaments in the knee and the meniscus is basically the cartilage that helps cushion the joint. In other words, you need them to stand, walk, run, and in short, play football.
Williams will be undergoing arthroscopic surgery sometime in the next week and a half. That is better news than it sounds for Texas, as arthroscopic surgery is less invasive and is used for more minor injuries. If, during surgery, the diagnosis of a sprain and small tear is confirmed and only minor repairs needed, then there is a chance Williams could return sometime this season.
Losing Williams for any length of time though is a blow. He is one of the best players on the Longhorn’s roster. He was recruited by Joe Wickline as a three-star recruit, and has developed into a high draft choice. Williams won the starting left tackle job as a true freshman and has since started every game he has appeared in. He also morphed into a two-time All-American.
If Williams does have to shut it down this season, he will have at least one more year of eligibility remaining, and possibly two. Since the injury occurred in the third game of the season, he should be able to apply for a medical hardship waiver, which would give him a year of eligibility back.
This is a tough loss for Texas,as their offensive line in the other four spots has been somewhat shaky at times. You never want to lose your best player and you definitely do not want to lose the guy protecting your quarterback’s blind side. In the USC game, Texas moved starting senior right tackle Tristan Nickelson over to finish the game. Sophomore Denzel Okafor then played in Nickelson’s vacated spot. Redshirt freshman J.P. Urquidez is listed as William’s back-up. Texas has not announced how the starting line will look going forward.