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Tackle may have serious knee ligament harm

10/3/2004 - Miami Hurricanes

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami tackle Eric Winston is out for
the season after injuring his left knee during the Hurricanes' 27-3
win at Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Miami coach Larry Coker wouldn't give specifics of the injury
Sunday, but preliminary indications were that Winston might have
serious ligament damage.

"He's maybe our best offensive player, definitely our best
offensive lineman," center Joel Rodriguez said. "For him to go
down, it's a blow to our offense."

More tests to determine the severity of the injury were
scheduled, and 6-foot-7, 310-pound Winston is expected to
undergo surgery sometime in the next few days.

"Usually, two to three bad things happen every year," Coker
said. "And you don't like to think in those terms, but they do.
It's not what happens that's important, but how you react to it."

Rashad Butler, who started four games in 2003 and was projected
as a starter this year before injuring his left ankle during
training camp, likely will take Winston's spot in the lineup for
the fourth-ranked Hurricanes (4-0, 2-0 ACC). It's unclear whether Butler
will play left tackle; more positional juggling among the linemen
may occur, Coker said.

"We have more depth on the offensive line than we've had since
I've been here," Coker said. "That's the positive part of it."

The Hurricanes also have a bit of time to figure out what to do;
they're off until Oct. 14, when they'll host Louisville (4-0).

"He's a great football player," Coker said. "And you don't
lose a great football player without missing him."

Winston was injured with 10:42 remaining against Georgia Tech,
when he fell over Tech linebacker Chris Reis and Miami
quarterback Kyle Wright.