After moving through the first half of the season relatively unscathed, the Pitt football team on Monday announced three season-ending injuries to players who had been listed on the two-deep.
Redshirt junior linebacker Dan Mason, redshirt junior offensive lineman Ryan Schlieper, and redshirt senior linebacker Manny Williams will all miss the rest of the 2012 season, head coach Paul Chryst said Monday.
Mason suffered a lacerated liver while making a fourth-down tackle in the fourth quarter of Pitt's 47-17 win over Temple Saturday. While the injury sounds rather gnarly, it is not life-threatening and shouldn't require surgery.
"He doesn't need surgery, and as long as the tests keep coming back the way they should, he should be alright," Chryst said. "You say that but you also don't want to take anything for granted right now."
Mason, who recorded 21 tackles in two starts this season, was replaced at middle linebacker in the Temple game by Joe Trebitz, a redshirt senior who has never made a career start. This week's official depth chart lists redshirt junior Shane Gordon as the first-team middle linebacker, but he has not played since suffering a high ankle sprain against Louisville on Oct. 13.
Chryst said Monday that he is unsure if Gordon will be available when Pitt plays at Notre Dame this Saturday.
"Too early to tell, but we're hoping that he keeps progressing. We're hoping that he keeps progressing, and really I don't think we'll know until the end of the week. He was able to move around a little bit yesterday, and we'll see how it tracks this week."
Schlieper, a redshirt junior from North Allegheny, suffered a foot injury in the first half of Saturday's Temple game. He was replaced at right guard by redshirt sophomore Arthur Doakes. That was Doakes' first appearance on offense in the middle of a game - he has played some snaps in mop-up duty - and Chryst said he will get the first shot at replacing Schlieper long-term.
"We'll look at Art and some other guys and see who grabs it. When we go out tomorrow, Arthur will be the first one in there. This week we'll look at him and Shane Johnson and make sure we're doing the right thing there."
Schlieper had started 16 consecutive games for Pitt, and his injury is the first season-ending injury to the offensive line this season. He will have surgery on his foot.
The announcement about Williams' season-ending ACL surgery was a bit overdue, as he suffered his injury in the Louisville game on Oct. 13.
"Manny hurt his knee, and he's elected to do surgery," Chryst said. "There was a chance that he might be able to rehab it and see if he could play at the end of the year, but he's gone ahead and elected to have surgery."
With Mason, Schlieper and Williams on the shelf, Pitt has now lost four players from the two-deep this season. Freshman defensive back Jahmahl Pardner suffered an ACL injury in Pitt's win over Virginia Tech on Sept. 15.
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