Hudson undergoes surgery for fractured knee

Updated: October 12, 2004, 7:11 PM ET
Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama tailback Ray Hudson will miss the rest of the season with a fractured right knee after undergoing surgery on Tuesday.

Hudson, the Southeastern Conference's second-leading rusher, was injured on a running play in the third quarter of Saturday's 45-17 victory at Kentucky.

The Crimson Tide is already without quarterback Brodie Croyle, also out for the season with a knee injury.

"There's nothing we can do about Brodie, there's nothing we can do about Ray," coach Mike Shula said. "The mindset's got to be like, 'Hey, let's move on. We're the guys that can do something about this."'

Sophomore Ken Darby will make his first start for the Tide (4-2) against Southern Mississippi (4-0, No. 25 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) Saturday.

Darby has rushed for 437 yards and five touchdowns, getting only 13 fewer carries than Hudson. Tim Castille plays both fullback and tailback and has run for four TDs.

With Hudson leading the way, the Tide offense finally clicked against the Wildcats after getting just 13 points and one touchdown in back-to-back losses. It was the most points an Alabama offense has produced in an SEC game since 2000 and the most in a league road game since 1991.

Hudson had gained 343 yards in the three games since Croyle's season-ending knee injury, including the lone touchdown on a 63-yard scamper against Arkansas. He was finally the starter after three years as a backup.

Alabama ranks last in the league in passing and 112th nationally. The running game is tops in the SEC and 13th in the country, with Hudson gaining 638 yards.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press