Molk Out For Season

Submitted by Brian on October 26th, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Per Tim's press conference twitter, David Molk has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Here's a kitten:

jaguara kitten

Feeling better? No? Oh.

I assume Michigan will go back to the line configuration they used last month when Molk was out with a broken foot. Left to right, that was Ortmann, Schilling, Moosman, Huyge, and Dorrestein. First guy off the bench now is probably John Ferrara, who saw some time in the Iowa game when Huyge wasn't playing well or had a minor injury.

Though Molk missed a ton of time and saw only three plays before getting knocked out against Penn State, he's not eligible for a medical redshirt. One play against PSU killed any possibility of that, and medical redshirts are only available for players who haven't already taken a normal redshirt. There is some possibility the NCAA might provide a hardship waiver if Molk suffers another season-ending injury, but even that's doubtful.



October 26th, 2009 at 12:23 PM ^

Does anyone else think that maybe the coaching staff should have been more careful with Molk? I know this looks like Monday morning quarterbacking, but I would hope the coaches would be more cautious with players before allowing them back from injuries that necessitated surgeries. I understand that Molk likely wanted to come back, but it's the coaches' jobs to make sure he really IS ready. Often players get injuries like this because what they injured earlier has healed (i.e. his ankle), but the musculature surroudning the injury and the support structure isn't 100% yet, causing increased strain on related ligaments and tendons. Again, I do not know that this is what happened here because I'm not on the coaching/training staff, but it seems like this very well may be the case because this tear resulted on a play where Molk simply planted his foot and the ACL couldn't handle the strain (as opposed to a play where a linebacker hits the knee and causes a tear). The former is sometimes preventable, the latter is usually not. Hopefully, Molk will be able to comeback by midway through next year and no one lets him rush himself back this time (standard recovery for ACL = 8-12 months).


October 26th, 2009 at 12:58 PM ^

It's the other leg, so the injury isn't related to the foot.

Plus, he'd been practicing with the team for 2 weeks, and lifting for 1 more prior to the game, that doesn't sound like 1) they rushed him back or 2) the injury could have left his musculature weakened.


October 26th, 2009 at 1:37 PM ^

except for the idea that he was at full strength (which I do agree doesn't necessarily mean they rushed him back; I've had surgeries that I'm still not 100% from many years later). It is unlikely that he could regain months, if not years worth of agility and strength training in the ~10 weeks since his surgery, which would have left him unable to do any significant leg work for at least 10-14 days and limited him for many more.


October 26th, 2009 at 1:44 PM ^

At this point in the season, the vast majority of starters are hurting from a variety of injuries. My guess is that the coaching staff took a look at Molk, felt he was making progress in his recovery, and was ready to play football. He'll probably never "fully" recover from the injuries until the offseason, but I doubt he was asked to do any more than other D-1 starters across America.

Feat of Clay

October 26th, 2009 at 3:38 PM ^

Michigan Replay (or whatever it's called now) did a thing on Molk a few weeks back, as part of a piece on the training staff. Molk said he wanted to play immediately, that he was constantly pushing to play, asking every week, insisting he was ready. He reported that the staff's response was "SHUT UP, Molk."

To hear him tell it, they were pretty conservative with him, way more than he wanted. FWIW, anyway. I recognize that's probably a lot less relevant than the other replies (about it being the other leg, etc).

I do feel sorry for him, particularly after hearing how frustrating it was for him to be out with the foot. Almost as much as I feel sorry for us fans.

J. Lichty

October 26th, 2009 at 12:43 PM ^

Does anyone else think that maybe the coaching staff should have been more careful with Molk?

Not without more information - I am not willing to make that conclusion.

M has a professional training staff and players get top flight medical treatment at U of M. I think that would be a very short-sighted and dangersous thing for the coaches to do, unethical for all to do, and liklihood that the entire range of people involved in his treatment let him play before they thought he was ready is very small.


October 26th, 2009 at 1:30 PM ^

I see your point and I agree that there is nothing unethical about anything anyone did in relation to this.

What I am arguing is that players usually want to come back as soon as possible, because of the loyalty they feel to their team and the degree to which football often defines their sense of self, regardless of whether they are actually phyically ready or not. Almost all of the tests the trainers will use to determine whether a player comes back involve the player performing diagnostic exercises (like cutting, planting, running, lifting etc.) and responding to the training staff with a pain rating. There is no objective criteria to determine if the player is at full strength. Also, the use of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs can further skew the player's responses. You may counter that training staff will sometimes make the player perform weightlifting tasks, but again, this says more about pain threshold than whether the player is ready or not. You may also counter that they do X-Rays, CT scans and other imaging analysis, but these only show if there is a structural problem with the athlete, not the amount of extra strain (in PSI) that is being put on ancillary support structures (such as the ACL, MCL, etc.) because of depleted muscle function as a result of surgery or non-use.

In short, I just meant to provoke some thought as to how (and whether?) coaches and training staff should attempt to mitigate this tendency on the part of players, especially high school and college athletes. It isn't some one sided, abusive relationship as it is portrayed in Varsity Blues, it's more often that the players agree with the coaches and convince themselves they're ready. The problem they face is that recovering from an injury does not involve simply repairing the broken piece of one's anatomy, but rebuilding an entire muscle system/structure that has been weakened from non-use or use that does not simulate the strains inherent in a football game. Thus, what should coaches do when faced with this situation? I do not have a good answer, but thought Molk provided a good touchstone for talking about it.

The Squid

October 26th, 2009 at 1:08 PM ^

What a shame. I feel terrible for the kid. I was really surprised he was even out there in the second half. He was limping badly between plays, leaving me wondering how effective he could possibly be. Fingers crossed for him on successful surgery and rehab.


October 26th, 2009 at 1:15 PM ^

I'm just surprised we don't have a better back up center so we can keep Moosman at his most natural position. Moosman's blocking/knowing the offense must outweigh 2-3 bad snaps per game to RR.

I Bleed Maize N Blue

October 26th, 2009 at 1:23 PM ^

I blurted out at work.

Boy, the Angry Michigan OL Hating God really has it in for us. I was hoping after last year, our OL would be healthier. Maybe overall it has been, but poor Molk is taking the brunt of the anger.

Here's wishing him a full recovery and no more injuries.


October 26th, 2009 at 4:36 PM ^

You predicted a victory over MSU.
Undaunted, you predicted a victory over Iowa.
Undaunted, you predicted a victory over Penn State.

So, um, are you daunted yet???

And does Michigan practice indoors a lot? They sure look like it.

2005. 2007. 2008. 2009. This has been a stretch of wretched football for Michigan that hasn't been seen since the early-to-mid 60's.

I am a weary fan.

Crime Reporter

October 26th, 2009 at 5:16 PM ^

I know Molk is one player, but our offense seemed to be much more crisp when he was calling the shots. Again, he's just one guy, but that's a hell of a guy to lose. I just hope he makes a full recovery, and I wish him the very best.