Alabama loses Hart to knee injury

It's the kind of news fans and coaches alike dread this time of year.

One of Alabama's most promising freshmen, running back Dee Hart, suffered what his high school running backs coach said was a torn ACL during a 7-on-7 passing drill on Tuesday night.

Alabama officials are waiting to release any details, but multiple reports have Hart scheduled for surgery on Thursday morning. He's expected to miss the 2011 season and hopes to be back in seven to 10 months.

Hart, an early enrollee from Orlando, Fla., had shown in the spring that he could provide an extra dimension to Alabama's offense. He's fast, catches the ball well out of the backfield and was probably going to be used as a third-down back. The Crimson Tide also liked him as a punt returner.

In other words, he was going to play.

Trent Richardson remains the centerpiece of the offense, but the Alabama coaches will be careful about not overdoing it with him. That's where sophomore Eddie Lacy comes in and where Hart was going to come in. Lacy is a powerful runner, but also has more speed than he's given credit for.

With Hart out of the mix, sophomore Jalston Fowler could see his role grow. The 6-foot-1, 246-pound Fowler is a bruising runner who's sure to get some opportunities in short-yardage situations and down near the goal line. He averaged 7.9 yards per carry a year ago as a freshman and carried the ball 14 times.