Spring injuries have tormented Vanderbilt's football program in recent years. Unfortunately for the Commodores, this spring hasn't been any different.
Starting defensive tackle Adam Smotherman suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during last Saturday's scrimmage. Smotherman, a fifth-year senior, had started in 23 consecutive games.
He will miss at least the first part of the 2010 season. But Smotherman is one of the hardest workers on Vanderbilt's team, and coach Bobby Johnson said there's no doubt that Smotherman will do everything he can to recover and get back in time for part of the season.
This is the third straight spring that the Commodores have lost a key player to a knee injury. Receiver Justin Wheeler went down last spring and receiver Alex Washington in 2008. Wheeler never made it back for his senior season. Washington tried to come back, but was limited and didn't have a catch that season.
Smotherman wasn't the only player to go down last week for Vanderbilt. Starting offensive left tackle Ryan Seymour dislocated his shoulder and will require surgery. The Commodores are hopeful he will be back in time for summer workouts.
"I feel bad for both Adam and Ryan," Johnson said. "I can't tell you how hard Adam worked to repair an earlier knee injury and become a starter for this team. I know he will do all he can to get back on the field. Ryan is the same kind of young man as Adam. He'll get back with us as soon as he can.
"Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the game. Other guys need to step up for this team, and realize they have an opportunity in front of them."