Missouri quarterback James Franklin will undergo surgery to repair his injured right/throwing shoulder and will miss the remainder of spring practice, but is expected to be ready for the beginning of the 2012 season.
Franklin was injured last Tuesday when he jumped on a fumble at the end of a play and had a defender land on his outstretched arm. The diagnosis was a sprained glenohumeral (GH) joint.
The rising junior will undergo surgery Friday and a timetable for his return to throwing will be determined following the procedure. At first, surgery wasn't expected and the thought was that Franklin would return this spring, but the staff decided surgery would be best in the long run.
“We’re disappointed for James naturally,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “But this is absolutely the right thing to do, and we all know he’ll be in great hands, as we have the best doctors and trainers in the nation. James has an outstanding work ethic, and he’ll be able to get past this setback just fine. We expect him to be 100 percent and ready to go for the season. Until then, our younger guys will benefit from more reps and more work with the No. 1 offense, and we’ll look at that as a positive."
With Franklin out, the Tigers will turn to redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser and junior Ashton Glaser to handle most of the quarterback duties this spring. Berkstresser ran with the first-team offense during Missouri's scrimmage Saturday, completing 10 of 25 passes for 105 yards. He wasn't stellar, but he also didn't turn the ball over and led the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 nickel defense for a field goal in two-minute drill work. He finished the drive with a 24-yard scramble to get out of bounds with less than 5 seconds left before Trey Barrow's 33-yard field goal.
Berkstresser didn't get into the end zone, but Glaser did with a 6-yard pass to Rolandis Woodland on a fade route.
You never want to see your starting quarterback go down, especially when you're transitioning to a new conference, but the good thing is Franklin should be ready for the fall. But Franklin would be behind if there are any sort of changes Missouri wants to make to its offense between now and when he returns.
On the other hand, this will prepare Missouri's backups just in case they're needed this fall. Franklin has already talked about trying to trim down his injuries by avoiding unnecessary hits, but we all know that they happen again and again in this league. It's going to take Franklin time to adjust to the defensive speed, so the hits will come. Having someone ready and prepared in the wings will help in case Franklin, who suffered a handful of injuries last season, goes down again an any point.