Expected to contend for playing time at tailback, the University of Washington’s Deontae Cooper instead is heading for a third surgery after tearing his anterior cruciate ligamen in his left knee at practice Wednesday.
Coach Steve Sarkisian said in a statement he was “saddened and dismayed” by the news. Cooper injured his right knee in August 2010 during a scrimmage. He tore the ACL again during a conditioning drill in the summer of 2011.
During the third practice of fall camp he tore the ACL in his right knee in a non-contact drill.
“Deontae has done everything we have asked of him,” Sarkisian said, “and has been an example to his teammates with his hard work in the classroom, and the dedication he showed in returning from two previous ACL surgeries in his left knee. Our football program will do everything we can to support him in this tough time.
Cooper, a 6-1, 201-pound redshirt sophomore from Perris, CA., told the Seattle Times this week that he was ready, but apprehensive.
“There is that question for the first couple of weeks,” he said. “And then after you get through with the surgery and the doctor tells you you can go again, it’s ‘Man, (I’m) ready to strap them on and go and grind.’ Until the doctors tell me I can’t play, if I tear my ACL five more times, I will keep going.”
In the absence of Chris Polk, now in the NFL, Jesse Callier, a junior, and Bishop Sankey, a redshirt sophomore, split time at the spot in the spring and begin the fall doing the same. Presuming a return to strength, Cooper was expected to see playing time behind them.