Manual’s star running back Michael Nero (12, #27) suffered a leg injury during Manual’s 19-7 win over Fern Creek on Friday night.
Nero walked off the field with the help of others after being tackled following a 59-yard run during the second quarter.
According to Assistant Coach Russell Rigdon, nothing is known for sure about Nero aside from the fact that the injury is to his leg, though he is expected to get an MRI on the afflicted area.
“We’ll find out Monday,” said Coach Rigdon. “If you’re going to have something like that happen, during a bye week is about as best as you can ask for. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, and he can be back out there as soon as possible.”
It is also unclear when exactly Nero will be back from this injury.
“I think PRP may be a little too optimistic, but maybe the game after that, or maybe for homecoming,” said Coach Rigdon.
“It was a tragic, freak injury, but I feel like I will be back next week,” said Nero. “Get the right person and I’ll be back.”
Prior to the injury, Nero played a large part in the offense, tallying up carries at the running back position, including a 20-yard touchdown late in the first quarter and a nine yard first down after breaking two tackles in the backfield.
Quarterback Tim Comstock (11, #3) also suffered from injuries tonight when he experienced cramping in his hand which kept him from playing during the second half of the game.
“[The cramping] should get better, I’m going to go to the doctor and see what happens, because I keep cramping every game. [The cramping] has gone on for the last few years, its been frequently happening so we’re just going to go check out what’s happening, see a professional,” said Comstock.
Despite the loss of Nero and Comstock, Manual defeated Fern Creek by 12 points due to an early safety and two touchdowns by Eric Niemann (11, #84) and Nero in the first quarter, as well as a 29-yard field goal by Chris Russell (11, #46) in the third quarter.
Trae Gordon (12, #22) stepped up in the wake of Nero’s injury. Though he remained scoreless, Gordon carried the ball effectively throughout the game, including two for double digit gains (20 and 19 yards respectively) in the third quarter.
Nero commended Gordon on his play last night.
“We worked all day and all night for this, and Trae came in and did what he needed to,” said Nero.
Coach Rigdon also commented on Gordon’s performance.
“I think he did fantastic. Trae’s one of the ones who stepped up to to the challenge. Mike got injured, and that’s unfortunate, but Trae seized his opportunity, got more reps and I think he did a fantastic job,” said Coach Rigdon.
However, the offense did not play without its fair share of problems. Turnovers plagued the team throughout the second and third quarters, including a fumble and two interceptions.
“Obviously, we got the win; but, it was pretty sloppy,” said Giraurd Drake (11, #13). “We got ahead of ourselves and thought that we had this in the bag and that’s when we started making mistakes.”
“It was a wake up call,” said Drake . “We really should have beat these guys worse than we did, and what we’re going to do is we’re going to into this bye week and we’re really going to make some changes.”
Manual’s defense also played a large part in the win by keeping Fern Creek scoreless until late in the second quarter and held the Fern Creek from getting their offense going with plays like an eight yard sack by outside linebacker and defensive end D.J. Smith (12, #14).
Manual will play PRP on Friday, Sept. 5 at Manual Stadium.