Shoulder Injuries End OL Colin Porter's Career
April 10, 2012
By Gregg Bell
SEATTLE - Colin Porter's football career at Washington is over, just halfway through it.
The Huskies confirmed officially Tuesday that their two-year starter on the offensive line will not play football any longer because recent surgeries showed degenerative conditions in both shoulders.
Porter started all 13 games last season at right guard, including December's Alamo Bowl. He started six more on the offensive line as a true freshman in 2010 out of Bothell High School in suburban Seattle. He was going to be one of perhaps four returning starters on UW's line entering his junior season this fall -- and one of the most experienced, even with two seasons of eligibility remaining.
"Colin Porter, unfortunately his football career is done. He has degenerative arthritis in both shoulders," Sarkisian confirmed Tuesday morning on KJR radio in Seattle, a day after UW doctors informed the fourth-year coach they were recommending Porter not play again.
"We knew his shoulders were sore. We went in surgically and found it was worse than first thought.
"It's unfortunate. This is a young man who gave a great deal to the university and gave a great deal to our football program. ... It's difficult for him, and it's difficult for us, quite honestly."
Porter's time is not done at UW, however.
"He will still get his degree. He will stay on full scholarship," Sarkisian said. "We will continue to support him in every way."
As recently as the start of this week, Sarkisian had planned to keep Porter out of preseason drills, including all 15 spring practices this month, in hopes of having the 6-foot-4, 299-pound guard recuperated in time for the Sept. 1 opener. But Monday the UW medical staff told Sarkisian it did not believe long-term rest and recovery would make Porter's shoulders any better suited to bang into defensive linemen 60-plus times a game again.
"It was a direct recommendation from our doctors," Sarkisian said. "And we believe we have the best doctors in the country. When they make that kind of recommendation we have to follow it."
James Atoe, a 6-6, 332-pound redshirt sophomore, has been at right guard for Porter through four spring practices. Monday after the Huskies' first full-pads practice of the spring, Sarkisian praised Atoe as one of the early standouts of spring ball.
"I've thought James has been awesome so far. He has really brought it," Sarkisian said. "It takes time to evolve as an offensive lineman. It takes time to grow into that body. James has been terrific, he really has. If I could name five guys in four days that have really caught my eye, he is one of them."
Erik Kohler, who with Porter became a starter on the offensive line as a freshman in 2010, is still recuperating from nagging injuries he played through last season. Colin Tanigawa, who started 11 games last season as a redshirt freshman until he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee against Oregon State in November, had reconstructive surgery and remains out indefinitely as he rehabilitates.