Quintin Wirginis was planning to have a big season in 2013.
Overlooked as a linebacker prospect from Fox Chapel, Wirginis gained his first real exposure in June when he earned an offer at Pitt's prospect camp and then committed to the Panthers shortly thereafter. But he planned to build his reputation with a strong performance as a senior this fall.
Now those plans are on hold, as Wirginis will miss the 2013 season after injuring his right foot two weeks ago.
"It's a Lisfranc injury," Wirginis told Panther-Lair.com. "The tendons in my foot are torn and I have a few fractures, so I'm getting surgery on Thursday and I'm going into 'coach mode' this season.
"It is what it is, I guess. It sucks because it's my senior year, but there are worse things that can happen, so I'm just working to get back."
The Lisfranc injury is a fracture of one or more of the metatarsal bones that extend through the middle of the foot. In recent years the NFL has seen a spate of Lisfranc injuries, ending the seasons of high-profile players like Dwight Freeney, Matt Schaub, Ronnie Brown and Santonio Holmes.
Most instances of the injury occur when a player's foot is pointing down (plantar flexed) and another player lands on it. Wirginis isn't entirely certain on the origin of his injury, but it seems to be along those lines.
"I was playing in a seven-on-seven and running a fade, and as I planted, another player came down on my foot; that was two weeks ago this past Friday," he said. "The injury can occur if it's no-contact if you plant wrong. I don't think I planted wrong, but I think it was the whole thing, with me planting and him coming down on my foot."
Since suffering the injury, Wirginis has been in contact with the Pitt coaches, including linebackers coach Chris Haering, who is his primary recruiter and his future position coach.
"He said he felt bad and all of that," Wirginis said of his conversation with Haering. "But he knows that I'm a hard-worker and I'll be back better than ever and that they are still very excited about me."
After having surgery on Thursday, Wirginis will be on crutches for five weeks and then will wear a walking boot. He will have screws removed from his foot after five months, at which point he can begin re-strengthening his foot.
"I can still work out my legs and upper body in the meantime, and I'll be working out with Pitt as soon as I'm done here. I'm still excited about Pitt and I'll work through this."
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