It's something you never want to see happen, that moment when a guy plants his leg and, without getting hit or even touched by anyone, you see his knee buckle and he goes down.
According to Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, that's exactly what happened to TCU's stud freshman runningback Shaun Nixon on Saturday.
"He made a cut. Nobody hit him," Patterson said. "Made a cut and it went out. It was no contact."
Patterson would go on to say how if the injury had to happen, now was a good time because he may be back in time for spring practice. That's a valid point. But there's no doubt it does damage to the depth at running back for 2014. First and foremost, from all things coming out of fall practice, Nixon had been turning heads. That's a bummer when a kid with tons of potential goes down with a knee injury like this one, because you can never be sure if they'll come back the same (see: Waymon James).
Yes, the group of B.J. Catalon, Aaron Green, Kyle Hicks and Trevorris Johnson still makes this a formidable backfield, but Nixon's injury leaves me cautious. You see, out of those four guys, Catalon, Green and Hicks all got banged up in the spring. It's pretty common for backs to get dinged up during the season, and nagging or pre-existing injuries only increase the chances of a guy getting hurt.
Not to mention, Hicks has already torn an ACL once. If you lose one more guy, Especially Catalon or Green, and the depth in the backfield gets really shaky.
Plus, there's another question that rises from this injury. Due to the fact that, now, an injury to a running back may leave you with two guys who have never taken a college snap (which was still the case prior to the Nixon injury), do you want to replace B.J. Catalon at kick returner?
The other day, after my breakdown of the special teams units, FrogLiquor made a good point. Is it worth having Catalon back there? I know he's not alone in thinking that, and the Nixon injury has me asking the same question.
A guy like Catalon in the backfield can be such a force, with his ability to run with strength and speed, as well as to get loose and catch a few passes. Do you want to risk that versatility by placing him on kickoffs? IMO it's the same question Cowboys fans asked a few years ago when Dez Bryant was returning punts. Can you afford to have him doing that?
I may be thinking worst-case scenario right now, but we're only one more injury away from seriously having to ponder these questions, and with TCU's injury track record, it could happen.