Alabama will be without junior running back Mark Ingram for Saturday's opener against visiting San Jose State, and probably longer, after the Heisman Trophy winner underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday morning.
Ingram suffered the injury late in Monday's practice, and Alabama coach Nick Saban said it was a "situation where everyone thought it would be better to take care of now, so he would not have any issues with it later in the season."
Although Alabama officials are ruling Ingram out only for the first game at this point, it's unlikely he would be able to get back in time for the Crimson Tide's second game, against No. 19 Penn State on Sept. 11 in Tuscaloosa.
Saban said Ingram would be managed on a week-to-week basis after Saturday.
"We will make every decision on the future based on what's best for Mark and his career as we consult with Dr. [Lyle] Cain and Dr. [James] Andrews on his progress," Saban said. "This is not an injury that will affect Mark's future ability to make a full recovery in a relatively short time."
Ingram, who became Alabama's first Heisman Trophy winner last season, rushed for 1,658 yards and scored 20 touchdowns.
If the absence proves short-lived, it figures to have more of an impact on Ingram's bid to join Ohio State running back Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heisman winners than it does on Alabama's hopes for a repeat national title.
Sophomore Trent Richardson will move into a starting role after rushing for 751 yards and scoring eight touchdowns last season as Ingram's backup. Richardson had 109 yards and a 49-yard touchdown against Texas in the national title game.
"It's different not having [Ingram] out there," Richardson said. "We're not losing Mark; he's still going to be out there. We know we have to do what we have to do. Mark will support us and we will support Mark too."
Added center William Vlachos: "We are extremely fortunate to have guys behind him that are going to rise to the opportunity."
The Crimson Tide also have redshirt freshman Eddie Lacy.
"Eddie's a little bit taller than all the other running backs," Ingram said Monday. "He's a physical runner. He can make you miss. He can catch good out of the backfield. He's another great back. He'll be real special here as well."
Chris Low covers the SEC for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.