Purdue's Ralph Bolden suffers serious knee injury

Purdue's injury-plagued spring practice has claimed a big piece of the offense.

Junior running back Ralph Bolden, the Big Ten's third leading rusher last season (77.9 ypg), suffered a non-contact injury to his right knee Wednesday in practice. Head coach Danny Hope didn't know the extent of Bolden's injury Friday but described it as serious and said the running back would be out for the rest of spring practice and possibly longer.

According to The (Lafayette) Journal and Courier, the Boilers coaches are preparing for the possibility Bolden won't play during the 2010 season. Bolden suffered a torn ACL in the same knee during his senior year of high school.

"If he's healthy and ready to go, we would love to have him," Hope said. "But we're not going to put our eggs all in one basket. We have to get some other guys ready to go."

Bolden would be a big loss for Purdue, which moves sophomore Al-Terek McBurse into the starting role this spring and also had wide receiver Keith Carlos switch to running back. Bolden's breakaway speed helped him briefly lead the nation in rushing last fall, and he had worked hard to improve his strength and vision during the offseason.

Injuries are really piling up for Purdue, which is without 20 players and 10 starters, including defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, linebacker Jason Werner and kicker Carson Wiggs. It's so bad that the Boilers postponed practices Saturday and Monday and will make them up after the spring game on April 19 and April 21.