By Gregg Bell – UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE -- The first major, impacting injury of preseason camp has hit the Huskies — with perhaps their best, most-accomplished player: record-setting tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has a fractured little finger on his right hand, putting in doubt his status for the opener Aug. 31 against Boise State.
"Austin’s going to be out for quite a while," coach Steve Sarkisian said following Tuesday’s first full team scrimmage of the preseason. “He actually has a small fracture in his pinkie there that’s actually going to require surgery. So he’s going to be out for a little … some amount of time.”
The junior was the only underclassman finalist last season for the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end.
Seferian-Jenkins, who this month was named a preseason All-American by The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated, appeared to injure the finger late Monday night while trying to catch a pass near the sideline from Keith Price in the second practice of the day. He was examined by trainers and a team doctor then went up the tunnel leading from the Husky Stadium field with them. He returned to the sideline a few minutes later.
Tuesday, he was in full uniform and his purple, 88 practice jersey. He did some light warm-up drills – none of them involving catching passes – while wearing what appeared to be a baseball-like batting glove over his right hand. He then watched entirely from the offense’s sideline as the Huskies completed their first full scrimmage of the preseason.
"He won’t be catching balls here for a little while," Sarkisian said.
Asked if ASJ would be out weeks, Sarkisian said, “I don’t know, quite honestly. I’m hopeful it’s days. I really don’t know.”
When I asked if this was an injury that Price’s top passing target could play through with a cast on the end of his right hand, Sarkisian said, “Again, I’ll know more towards the end of the week, quite honestly.
"I really don’t know."
ASJ isn’t like an offensive or defensive lineman who could potentially ward off opponents with a cast at the bottom of his hand. It would conceivably be extremely difficult — not to mention painful and potentially damaging to the fixes a surgery will make — to catch passes with the ball continuously banging off a cast.
So we’ll see if UW has it’s huge, 6-foot-6 red-zone threat for Boise State, after all.