<
>

Eldridge, English, Jones out for OU

NORMAN, Okla. -- The Oklahoma Sooners have lost three more players for the season.

Coach Bob Stoops said Tuesday that starting offensive lineman Jarvis Jones will miss the rest of the year with a fractured heel suffered during a 10-3 loss at Nebraska on Saturday.

Jones is the fifth starter the Sooners (5-4, 3-2 Big 12) have lost for the season.

On Monday, Stoops announced that defensive end Auston English and team captain Brody Eldridge also suffered season-ending injuries in the Nebraska loss.

English was scheduled to have surgery on an injured ankle tendon Tuesday, and Eldridge is out the rest of the year with a neck injury. Stoops initially had described Eldridge's injury as a shoulder sprain.

"It's just odd, too, the injuries," Stoops said. "[Trainer] Scott Anderson's never seen a fractured heel. The tendon that Auston English is having operating on later today, he's never seen that tendon -- that ever happen in all his years of training. Brody's situation, it's actually with his neck, he's never had before."

Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford and star tight end Jermaine Gresham had season-ending surgeries earlier this year.

The injuries have played a role in perhaps the most disappointing of Stoops' 11 seasons in Norman. Oklahoma (5-4, 3-2) started out with hopes of returning to the BCS championship game for a second straight year, but instead has fallen from No. 3 all the way out of the poll for the first time since 2005, heading into Saturday's game against Texas A&M (5-4, 2-3).

"At certain points, sure, all that's happened through the year, it aggravates you. It motivates you do to better," Stoops said. "You're constantly searching for ways to overcome it, so that's what we're trying to do -- to get better in certain areas, to not hurt ourself with some foolish penalties, to execute better in critical situations, to make a field goal when you've got to make it."

Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said Tavaris Jeffries is back with the team after dealing with a family issue last week, and freshman Tyler Evans and sophomore Brian Lepak will help fill the holes at guard. Stephen Good, a guard, will work more at tackle to prepare to back up Cory Brandon, and tight end Eric Mensik will be an emergency option.

"We'll still hopefully have enough. We're at a point, though, we need to knock on wood and kind of stay where we're at," Wilson said. "We don't need to lose anyone else as far as being able to manage and get through the season."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.