PITTSBURGH -- The University of Pittsburgh has lost its top wide receiver before its season has even begun.
Senior wide receiver Derek Kinder tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in practice Saturday and will miss the entire 2007 season.
It's a huge blow to the Panthers' hopes as Kinder was an All-Big East first-teamer and a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award with 57 catches for 847 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 2006.
Kinder was injured making a cut after catching a pass on Pitt's first day of full-contact practice. He walked off the practice field on his own but was in visible pain.
He is expected to have surgery this week.
Kinder is considered a key to a Pitt offense that will begin the season with one of two inexperienced quarterbacks as its starter, either Bill Stull or Kevan Smith. Stull didn't practice Saturday because of a cut on his right thumb that occurred when his hand struck a teammate's helmet.
"This is a very unfortunate thing," said coach Dave Wannstedt,
who disclosed the test results on Sunday. "He has worked so hard
to put himself in position for a great year. It was a non-contact
injury -- he never got hit, he just planted on the grass."
Kinder has not redshirted, so he can sit out this season and
return to play as a senior in 2008.
Information from ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad and The Associated Press was used in this report.